1. ED the new guy's Avatar
    Hello all, I've had my PlayBook for a few weeks now and really enjoy it. The PlayBook has proved to me that the tablet is here to stay and that I will be buying more tablets (probably iOS and Android for the rest of my (young) family within a year).

    That said, even though I think the tablet is here to stay and I really like the PlayBook, I'm not convinced that the BlackBerry PlayBook will survive . BlackBerry has made many missteps in trying to get the PlayBook off the ground and they don't seem to be scrambling to fix them. I don't think it's too late for them to avoid having to kill the PlayBook but they will have to act fast.

    So, here goes. The following are what I see limiting PlayBook's appeal to a broad audience and potentially signing its death warrant:

    1. Video Chat

    The lack of cross platform video chat is killing the reviews. It's one of the most common complaints and is one that is relatively easily fixed by RIM!

    RIM has its own video chat which (supposedly) works quite well. They have the infrastructure to handle video chat. Why not scale up the infrastructure? Then write and release clients for iOS, Android and Mac/PC/(Linux).

    Scaling up can't be that expensive compared to the millions they've spent on the fire sales to sell PlayBooks and drop the price from $500 to $130 (on sale) in a bit over a year.

    Apple (FaceTime) will never write a client for RIM since they don't even bother with Android/Windows . Microsoft (Skype) won't give a leg up to a smaller competitor for third place in the tablet wars so there won't be native PlayBook Skype video chat.

    PS No, I don't consider a single paid video chat app to be a viable video chat option, especially when it has poor recent reviews in the PlayBook app store and downright atrocious ones in the iTunes store.

    Solution: release BlackBerry video chat clients for iOS, Android and Mac/PC. Either that or negotiate a deal with Microsoft or Google to get access to Skype or Google chat.

    2. App store

    The app store looks nice but it's next to impossible to find something useful in it. Maybe that's because there's not much to find (my gut feeling) or the interface needs an overhaul (also the case).

    With the iPhone I'm used to finding high quality free or free to try apps for just about anything I want. In PlayBook's app store I've struggled to find apps that appeal to me and make me even want to try them--for example, for astronomy apps I can find dozens of high quality free ones on the iPhone. For the PlayBook I've found one decent one and it's pay (the only app I've bought on the PlayBook so far).

    RIM is working on bringing Android apps over to the PlayBook but they've got to do a better job of providing the emulation layer that allows the apps to run and access all PlayBook hardware. For example, if they could get Android Skype to run with full access to all the PlayBook hardware they wouldn't have to spend time worrying about licencing agreements.

    Solution: Open up the PlayBook hardware to Android apps.

    3. Tablet choice

    I really like the form factor of the 7" PlayBook. It's sturdy. The rubber backing is useful. But, the PlayBook lacks a 10" cousin and is quite thick compared to 2012 (soon to be 2013) offerings. The iPad mini is only 100 g lighter (33% lighter) than the PlayBook but because of its engineering it feels like a featherweight beside the PlayBook. Apple also hit the nail on the head with the 8" screen. 7" is really a touch too small and 10" tablets are too heavy! I'm sure BlackBerry will come out with a 5" phone but they do need one or two more tablet offerings as well.

    Solution: BlackBerry needs to come out with one or two more choices in the tablet market.

    4. Radical solution

    Turn the PlayBook into an Android device! They've got the brand name to go head-to-head with the likes of Samsung. They've got the engineering know-how to do it well. They've got the software to make their version of Android special. Now, the question is, are the margins in the Android universe too thin compared to remaining a proprietary bit player on the side lines?

    5. Web reviews

    Pay attention to them RIM. People buy or don't buy hardware on the basis of what they read on the web. If reviewers are complaining about video chat. FIX IT. Swallow your pride and open up BlackBerry video chat to other OSes FOR FREE! If people are complaining about a lack of apps. FIX THAT TOO. (Ok, granted, they are working on that one at least).

    Overall benefits to BlackBerry

    They are NOT iOS and are NOT Android. This means they can do their own thing. iOS is hampered somewhat by its reputation as a consumer OS (though, they're snagging some pretty high value business and gov't contracts away from BlackBerry). Android is hampered by the million and one manufacturers which means that an ASUS and an Acer and a Samsung, though similar are not the same.

    RIM has a reputation for security. They can build on that but they can't build if they've become such a niche player if their ONLY shtick is security. Apple and Android can very easily catch up and overtake RIM on security (both are *nix-based operating systems) while working from MUCH larger installed user bases.

    RIM is not out by a long shot. Their mobile phone market share in the developing world is big but for how much longer? In North America they were out competed in only five years. Apple decimated their market share by building the market for smart phones. Apple was able to charge $500 for MILLIONS of phones while BB struggled to charge even a fraction of that for far fewer phones.

    RIM never owned the tablet market so there wasn't anything to lose but they haven't done enough yet to gain traction. They need to offer people a reason to buy their hardware over that of their competitors. They cannot compete on price alone because ASUS will figure out a way to sell a $100 7" tablet within two years which will destroy the niche that the PlayBook has now adopted.

    I bought the PlayBook because it was CHEAP ($118 CAD) and I had a very specific purpose in mind (watching videos from on-line courses and light web browsing).

    Because of my very positive PlayBook experience I am now also in the market for a general purpose tablet and, though I really really really like the PlayBook I know that I'll be spend the big $$$s to buy an iPad for my wife. The only thing that could possibly change my mind is if the next incarnation of PlayBook's OS turns it into a device that "just works" and allows my toddler son to do video chat with the grandparents who run a Windows computer and have no interest in a BlackBerry tablet (and, I would never give them a PlayBook since it's too rough around the edges for them to use).

    The PlayBook is a great piece of engineering and hardware but it's not enough without the software. Hopefully the next incarnation of the PlayBook OS will fix most, if not all of the deficits I identified above. If not, I think RIM will abandon the PlayBook and focus only on its phone market.
    Last edited by ED the new guy; 12-08-12 at 05:37 AM.
    Ghost_Face likes this.
    12-08-12 05:19 AM
  2. ED the new guy's Avatar
    PS regarding "just works". My 21 month old son is able to use the PlayBook quite well provided the apps are open or on the quick launch bar.

    He uses it nearly as well as the iPod touch that he also occasionally gets (iPods are the best toddler pacifier ever... if we need five minutes of uninterrupted work time and he's tired it's the best way to keep him from getting into mischief), and, of course the 7" screen vs. the 3.5" screen make a big difference to his stubby fingers.

    The one thing that gets him time and time again though is the lack of the "home" button to push if he gets into an app he doesn't like.
    12-08-12 05:42 AM
  3. kill_9's Avatar
    OP, your right to express your opinions notwithstanding border on suicide for the BlackBerry brand. First, a 10-inch tablet form-factor is too large for a truly portable, mobile tablet. Second, the BlackBerry Android Player Subsystem should be dumped with BlackBerry OS 10; if there are truly 100,000 native applications ready for the release of BlackBerry OS 10 for the next-generation BlackBerry smartphones, then most of these applications should easily port to the tablet when BlackBerry OS 10 is released for the tablet. Third, making the BlackBerry PlayBook another Google Android running tablet would effectively kill any credibility remaining for Research In Motion in terms of their vision of a mobile computing platform; tablets are an essential part of the mobile computing portfolio because a smartphone is not sufficient nor efficient for many tasks where a tablet excels. Fourth, ignoring the preceding points will lead to the media ripping Heins and his strategy to shreds and exposing an emperor with no clothes.

    If Research In Motion provided a means to upgrade the current 1GB RAM to a more reasonable 4GB RAM given the GUI-nature of the tablet UI and its applications, the longevity of the current tablet specifications increases significantly. The memory manager of BlackBerry Tablet OS has been a pain in recent days for me although 15 tabs in the web browser might be the culprit there is no reason each tab requires a significant amount of memory. The software development team needs to learn proper programming techniques for "limited" memory as many of us in the 1980s learned on a variety of personal computer systems with 32KB RAM if we were lucky but only 5KB in most cases.
    neilwhite and Desktoper like this.
    12-08-12 06:24 AM
  4. kill_9's Avatar
    He uses it nearly as well as the iPod touch that he also occasionally gets (iPods are the best toddler pacifier ever... if we need five minutes of uninterrupted work time and he's tired it's the best way to keep him from getting into mischief),
    Chaining the "spawn of mischief" to a tree in the backyard sounds like a better plan until law enforcement knocks on your door. Alternatively, a baby bottle of beer or some smoked weed in the privacy of your dwelling might be a less expensive pacifier.
    12-08-12 06:30 AM
  5. kill_9's Avatar
    RIM has its own video chat which (supposedly) works quite well. They have the infrastructure to handle video chat. Why not scale up the infrastructure? Then write and release clients for iOS, Android and Mac/PC/(Linux).
    Try the web browser based AV by AIM or IMO.
    12-08-12 06:39 AM
  6. Kandoo-BB's Avatar
    Most all the suggestions made by op will be solved with BlackBerry10 making this post meaningless Imo. Android on the PlayBook!?!? NO >>>BlackBerry10 on the PlayBook.
    BigwhiteUK likes this.
    12-08-12 02:35 PM
  7. Zildjian71's Avatar
    It is not possible to say Security and Android at the same time, there is and can never be security on Android without a total kernel rewrite which would violate Googles goals. Android is nothing more than adware for Googles profits at users expense and violation to their privacy and personal data.

    As to selling out the Playbook hardware wholesale to Android, it would accomplish nothing as this exact hardware already exists in the Android sphere. It would amount to nothing and no one would care.

    Yes App World sucks but there is nothing original saying that. They know.

    As mentioned there are plenty of web based point to point video chat offerings. Again not much would be gained.

    I think OP, that you have no clue as to what the BlackBerry platform is, and most people don't because they're too addicted to Candied Apples. When the BB10 platform is fully revealed after the phones are launched then is the time to bring criticisms or praise.

    Also iI seriously doubt RIM's goals are to replace either Apple or Google, but rather fill in whats missing and there's a lot to fill in. Right now an Apple - Google dominated market is a small and restricted place with not much future, just a lot of risky fluff.
    axeman1000 likes this.
    12-08-12 05:13 PM
  8. Techno-Emigre's Avatar
    Geez guys, mellow a little! The OP politely expressed some opinions.

    Welcome, OP. I actually enjoyed reading your post. You make some valid points. I also believe that as you hang out on CB you will change your mind about some things. And, trust me, you will be falling more and more in love with your PB. Let it beguile you LOL. As mentioned, BB10 will bring so much more to the conversation.

    As for the suggestion of Android on the PB... Ugh! I had to run and get my garlic necklace on. In my profession I need data security. That means BlackBerry. The PB also has many strengths when comparing it to other tabs.
    12-08-12 11:28 PM

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