Review of RIM’s Blackberry Playbook

One of the latest entry into the Tablet market is the Blackberry Playbook from RIM.

We know of RIM’s primary market to be the Enterprise users and its Blackberry continues to enjoy a strong foothold. However, of late, the rapid adoption of Apple’s iPad by Enterprise users have set RIM in motion to come-up with a competitive product, the result being that of the Blackberry ‘Playbook’.

Well, the nomenclature ‘Playbook’ itself sends a signal that RIM is not solely targeting the Enterprise users but willing to spread out to the more ‘playful’ crowd vis-a-vis the youth and the younger generation-y.

Today, I’m not going to be biased towards the iPad (I continue to use both the first generation iPad and the second generation iPad 2). I’ve de-learn what iPad have done to my hands and fingers and have approached the Blackberry as a totally virgin device to me to finger around, caressing ever corner of its beauty with elegant touches, swipes, pull-ups and push-downs. Without getting carried away further, let me tell that this device is a beauty in my hand, very fast and sleek.

Here is a video of Blackberry Playbook against the Apple iPad.

Features and Highlights

Unlike the iPad or Android, there is no home screen button. This one’s gonna be confusing for people who’s trying to use the Playbook for the first time. The touch screen extends beyond the visible screen, and swipes that begin and end on the bezel are used for system commands—swipe down to go to the home screen, up to close an app, or diagonally across to access notifications.

RIM seem to have done a very good job, besides others, on the built-in browser which excels at every web browsing behavior you can think of. Of course, there’s Flash Player there, so the videos plays inline unlike the iPad. The performance of the Flash Player while playing videos and other Flash SWFs is very impressive and I see no degradation.

The caveat, right now, is that of the lack of Apps in the Blackberry App World. Unlike Apple which started long back with an endless number of developers clambering for a space in the App Store, Blackberry Playbook have to go a long way filling up its App World.

The PlayBook comes with Facebook, YouTube and excellent tools for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. A Twitter client was missing though one can be downloaded from the App World. The Playbook is powered by QNX OS and thus cannot take advantage of the Android Marketplace like other Tablets.

Nonetheless, there is good news, specially for Flash/Flex/ActionScript developers and designers, you can deploy to the Blackberry Playbook without any additional effort and is a breeze to just publish an app for the device. The Blackberry Playbook comes built-in with the latest Adobe AIR Runtime ready for your apps to be deployed.

Tech Specs

The Playbook stands somewhere in between a normal Smartphone and the common Tablet size. This can, in fact, prove to be a good selling point.

  • 1GHz Dual Core
  • 1GB RAM
  • Weight: 425g / 0.9lb
  • Width: 7.6″ / 194mm
  • Height: 5.1″ / 130mm
  • Depth: 0.4″ / 10mm

It boast of a 1080p HD Video capability, coupled with a 3MP front camera and a 5MP back camera. It comes in three capacities of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of Storage.

Pricing

It’s a tad costly, though it has the same pricing as that of Apple’s iPad.

  • 16GB: $499
  • 32GB: $599
  • 64GB: $699

In my personal test, startup was tad slow, well too slow for a tablet. I was able to connect to the Wi-Fi easily though I noticed its inability to switch to the nearest point quick enough. I’ve an Airport Express which extends the main Airport Extreme Wi-Fi and it found it hard to switch between the two quickly.

Registration the Blackberry and getting an ID was quick and easy. I had to create one as I’ve never a Blackberry before. The first thing was to update its OS and some Softwares. Continued usage tend to make the tablet really and the battery life isn’t that great, specially while watching videos.

Disclosure: I was given a Blackberry Playbook to play with.