Research In Motion (RIM) announced the launch of BlackBerry Playbook a few months ago when the first version of the iPad was released in the American market. The BlackBerry Playbook is now on sale and it has to go head to head with the popular iPad 2, a much more powerful compared to its predecessor. It will also have to compete with the first Android (Honeycomb), an operating system specifically designed by Google optimized for tablet devices. Today, I will compare the iPad with the BlackBerry Playbook because I believe that Apple’s iPad is a suitable benchmark for all the current and newly released tablets in the market.
Available in the U.S. the BlackBerry Playbook will have the same price as the basic model of iPad Wi-Fi ($499) with the same capacity of 16GB. Playbook will only have Wi-Fi, but RIM said that they will release a 3G version soon. For now, the only way to get a wireless connection is if you pair a Playbook to a Blackberry phone or creating a Wi-Fi access point from a personal mobile phone.
I think Playbook is going to be a serious competitor in the tablet market. These are the three main points that I found that favors the BlackBerry Playbook:
1. It has a great browser. Fast and well designed, enabled with tabbed browsing and a powerful java script engine. You can also display Flash content on this device, but my recommendation is to disable this function because it tends to consume a lot of battery power.
2. Multitasking is very well thought out and works great. Sufficiently close to the interface that uses Palm WebOS and the interface is clean and very intuitive. It helps that the very framework of the device is attractive and can recognize simple gestures. To see all program that are running, simply slide your finger up from the bottom frame of the Playbook.
3. Great multimedia performance. The sound of the speakers is so good, it really dwarfs the iPad. The back camera records high-quality HD video though of course as a recording device, tablets are not the ideal device to do it because of their size.
These are three points that somehow highlights what RIM’s BlackBerry Playbook can do that Apple and Google can’t seem to perfect.
There are some problems with the BlackBerry Playbook as well. BlackBerry phones are well known for their business savvy native applications such as the flawless handling of e-mails and calendar. With RIM’s tablet, you won’t find these applications integrated to the device. However, RIM has promised to have the Playbook’s native email and calendar application during the summer.
Another problem is that the applications in BlackBerry Playbook’s market are still very limited. RIM boasts more than 3,000 available at launch, but most of these are apps are shortcuts to webpages and not really applications developed for the device. The selection of application games in its application store is quite poor even though the company is trying to market the Playbook as a tablet built for entertainment.