Posts Tagged ‘Rim’

A friend of mine was having issues setting up his Christmas gift: a 32gb BlackBerry Playbook. So I offered to help out.

Having always been one to enjoy fiddling with new(ish) tech, I looked at it as an opportunity to explore the world of BlackBerry that I had left behind many, many years ago when I fell in love with what an iPhone could do and my BB Curve got tossed into our electronic junk drawer.

First off, if you are going to compare it to an iPad2 then forget it, it loses hands down.  But if you judge it for what it is then it has its merits and uses.

If you are a BB user (I know there are still some of you out there who swear by them and not just at them) then you will probably like the way it works.  It just feels BlackBerry-ish.  Be prepared for a large download as soon as you start the wi-fi setup process.  You can’t avoid it either, it has to be installed, but from what I understand its replacing the OS and it makes the PlayBook much better to use.  Be forewarned, it’s just over 360 mb and you need a good clean connection, so don’t think you’re going to set it up at the local coffee shop.  In fact it stopped a couple of times for me, but after kicking everything and everyone off the home wi-fi, it managed to chug on thru and finish.

its a fair sized download, be patient

tutorial gives you all the basics

Once you are done the setup, which can only be done using wi-fi which kinda sucks IMO, then the rest of the setup is dead easy.  The tutorials are short and sweet and show you the basics in just a few minutes.  The screen is clear and bright, and the sample video in HD that is pre-installed looks so realistic you’d almost think it was 3D, at least according to my youngest daughter.

The multitasking is impressive and try as I might, opening tons of apps all at once didn’t seem to cause any trouble.  Even the pre-installed racing game that uses the built-in gyroscope worked flawlessly when flipping between it and any of the other apps I had open.

smaller than most other tablets

good clean interface

The PlayBook has almost all the features you’d expect of a tablet, including access to a music store and an app store, its just that they are not iTunes – the unchallenged king of media.  I flipped thru the store quickly and it seemed to have a lot of current media with comparable prices to the iTunes store.  Speaking of price, the PlayBook itself is about half the price of an iPad, and if you are looking for a smaller form factor then it might be just the thing for small hands.  Kids for instance would appreciate that when it comes to holding and typing on it.

There are front and back cameras for stills and video, which according to the specs should be better than that of my iPhone4, or the iPad2 but in side by said comparison it just didn’t measure up.  The photos looked flat and needed much brighter lighting to capture a good image. No flash either.  Not the flash that Apple hates, the type that lights up your subject is what I am referring to.  This little tablet does support Adobe Flash when you are on the web, but doesn’t have one for photographs.  Why can’t we have both?

taken from "BlackBerry_PlayBook_Specs_ENv4.pdf"

One thing that does annoy me though, is the lack of an email app.  Without bridging your PlayBook to your BlackBerry smartphone there is no calendar, email, or contacts.  This may be something that is about to change if you read the PDF specs of the PlayBook.  One little word “will” makes me think there are newer versions on the not-so-distant horizon.  Who knows, maybe the $299 price tag is to try to clear out the older models and make way for the next one.

If this product had come out without needing an update right out of the box, or hadn’t tried to come off as an iPad alternative, then maybe it would have been received better.  Also with all the uncertainty about Research In Motion (RIM) many people who might have welcomed BlackBerry’s first foray into the tablet market have held off, and that trepidation seems to be keeping people’s wallets closed .  Even at the lower prices, they are not exactly flying off the shelves the way you’d expect.  Hopefully with the right publicity and advertising RIM can increase their user-base and get back some of the huge investment they put into development.

Bottom line, would I buy one?  Yes.  Heck I’d like to buy a couple of them as travel-sized media players.  They are perfect for that.  Is it a full-blown tablet?  No, at least not yet.  Maybe after the next OS update (version 2.0 is close to release and hopefully won’t require new hardware), because it seems like there are still too many features missing that I want in a tablet.   You are not going to replace your laptop with this, but it will make a welcome addition to your electronic family whether or not you are a BlackBerry smartphone user.

tcg

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I’m of two minds with the whole RIM layoff thing that’s going on right now.

I hate to see any Canadian company struggling, I’m a proud supporter of all things Canadian and not just because I live and work here, I honestly believe that RIM was doing a great job as a company, at least in the beginning, but they did bring it upon themselves by not staying current.  It’s hard to feel too sorry for them when they’ve had plenty of opportunities to update their products and stay competitive with the other newer upstarts, you know, like Apple and Android.  RIM’s BlackBerry line has been around since 1999* but the competition seems to have surpassed them in features, capabilities and innovation.
They had a controlling lead in the smart phone market.  It might actually be said they created that market.  In fact their products were amazing for the time and were the go-to device for most business types on the go, but they stopped innovating and that’s what causing the current toppling of their ivy-tower.  That and rushing products to market too soon.  The playbook comes to mind most recently, but that’s been covered ad-nauseum by the blogs since its release so I’m not going to rehash it here.
I hope they take this opportunity as what it is – a chance for them to retool rethink rework everything to make their products better and get back some of that market share they lost.  Not only for the sake of a great Canadian company and the town of Waterloo which has a lot of people’s lives depending upon Research In Motion, but also because competition in the market makes all the players work harder, which means the consumers win with better products and better pricing, and who doesn’t like that.  Well, besides the CFOs of the manufacturers maybe.

tcg

*edited.  RIM has been around since 1984, the BlackBerry was introduced in 1999

When you compare the specifications between the tablets out there, it seems like Apple’s latest offering the iPad2, while better than the first iPad, falls a little short.

Don’t get me wrong, its a great device, but is it worthy of all the praise and the pedestal that it seems to be getting put upon?  Look at its specs compared with other tablets on the market and you quickly see there is must be something else making it the device to beat more than just the technical components, since the tablets being offered by Rim, Motorola and HP all have more ram, better cameras and screen resolutions as good as or better than the iPad2.  Honestly I was expecting more from Apple on this latest update to its ground-breaking tablet.  Screen resolution in my opinion should have been at least as good or better than the latest iPhone.  Ram, although increased from the first iPad is still a little low as far as i’m concerned.  They are touting this as a multimedia device for creating on but seem to be knee-capping it slightly by not upgrading the items that could make it stand out from the quickly gathering crowd.  And don’t get me started on the specs of the cameras.  What the heck made them think using the camera from an iPod was the way to go when they should have at least gone with the same cameras that are in the iPhone?  (If you want a good comparison of the specifications of the various tablets out there, the May 2011 edition of MacLife has a pretty good comparison chart of the key players as they call them).

Getting back to the question at hand though, will Apple reign supreme in a market that is about to explode with competition?

Was it just being first was enough to get it entrenched in our minds as the goto tablet, or is it the fact that Apple has had so much success with its other mobile devices that they can have a technically inferior device on paper but still hold the title of the device to beat?  Maybe its the sheer number of apps available for the iPad2 that make it the product to beat.

This war is just heating up, so it is tough to know what will happen over the next year, but if the past is any indication when it comes to delivering what people want (or making them want what they are delivering) then Apple could be the undisputed king of the hill when it comes to tablets unless the other manufacturer’s can get a stronghold soon.  I think the next year is do or die time for the others, and they better bring the big guns with them from a hardware and software standpoint, or they might as well stay home.

What are your thoughts?

What makes the iPad2 the tablet to beat? or is it?online surveys

Thanks in advance for your comments,
tcg