I waited while my friends got Ipods, then Iphones, then Ipads. I listened to them gush about the touchscreen and how perfect apple was. I watched as they spend hours looking for apps to spend their money on at the app store.
I'm glad I waited.
The Playbook took a lot of heat just before it came out. The four main complaints seemed to be:
No 3G connection
No Native Email
Lack of Apps
Looking at the list, I notice two things.
First, 80% of the IPads sold are wifi only models so what is the problem (other then not being able to please all of the people all of the time)?
Second, the last three complaints are really all the same complaint, lack of apps. The sad part about this is that since the Playbook provides a full web experience (with flash and HTML5 support) I don't really need a lot of apps (except for angry birds, but I hear that it is come soon)! I use a webmail account for my personal email, I have a company Blackberry for business email and it syncs up flawlessly and securely with my playbook (and lets me get to my BBM account too). Do I need a newspaper app or a banking app if I can go straight to the website and read the news or do my banking online?
The screen it crisp, the navigation is intuition, and it fits in my pocket.
RIM started with a new kernel and a stable operating system that is used by every car manufacturer in the world. They wrapped the QNX operation system with stereo speakers, a pair of batteries and a Hi-definition display that is stellar. They seem to have concentrated more on being able to run any application and didn't think about running specific applications.
RIM has updated the Playbook OS at least twice since I got it. They've added additional functionality and cleaned out some bugs (I assume, because I haven't really noticed any bugs so far). This is more then i can say about my two-year old phone. My phone company still hasn't released an approved update for it even though i know there have been a few updates since I bought it. I can only imagine what waiting for the phone company to update the Playbook over 3G would do for my sanity.
It came loaded with too many applications to list here. For the gamer in me there was "tetris" and "need for speed: undercover", two excellent demonstrations of the capacities of the playbook. Tetris showcases the gesture control system, NFS:U showcases the accelerometer and gyroscope as well as the processor and hi-def screen. For the adult in me there is a KOBO e-reader. It came loaded with Sun Tzu's "The Art of War". I assume that was a shot across the bow at Apple and or Google. there is also a app for accessing 1500 films from the National Film Board of Canada. There are apps for hotmail and yahoo as well as docs-to-go and sheets-to-go for word and excel files. Of course there is a music store app as well. I'm seeing and hearing about the playbooks 3D rendering capabilities as well and I'm wondering what else this little black beauty is capable of!
I can't yet find a mirco-HDMI cable locally to plug the playbook into my HDTV.
I'm angry about not having access to angry birds.
Can I complain that RIM's 'ecosystem isn't as fleshed out as Apples yet - not if I'm trying to be honest with myself.
Everybody I show it too is impressed, full stop.
Apple built an OS around the ipod, then added cellular capability. Then Apple ported the whole shebang to the Ipad. All the while leading the market and controlling the content that went into the appstore so they could ensure apps wouldn't overpower the OS. That's great for Apple, they dominate the market and get to write the rules. but the OS is getting older now and eventually they'll need to reboot the whole franchise. Apple might be working on the "next big thing" or they might be working on the next iteration of the IPad. The management is innovative but not flexible.
RIM has started out slowly with a shell of impressive, stable hardware and is slowly ramping up the capabilities and features. RIM may have lost the innovation battle but seems to be making a tablet that is very flexible (enough to run google apps, Java, flash, HTML5 and maybe even apple apps as well) and highly adaptive (is being able to do everything inovative?).
That said, this might be a case of Turtle vs Hare. Apple (the rabbit) took off like a shot and raced ahead (and bread lots of copies of itself - as rabbits do). Apple has set a blistering pace that nobody else can keep up with but it remains to be seen how long it can keep the pace itself before it runs out of steam and needs to recharge/reiterate/reinvent.
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