03-05-13 07:37 PM
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  1. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    Hey Everyone,

    Just thought I'd write a little thought provoking post on a topic which we don't consider all that often. Yes, I'm serious, I'm going to argue that the PlayBook was the best thing to happen to BlackBerry in a long while.

    When the PlayBook launched, it was the first device out of BlackBerry to launch with the new QNX operating system. Putting this on their phones right away probably was not going to be a good idea because of the radical changes from the traditional BlackBerry Java OS. Instead, BlackBerry, with the help of Quanta Computers, decided to develop a tablet device based on their shiny new purchase of QNX Software Systems.

    Fast forward to launch day, approximately 50 000 units sold, or so we are told. The device is met with lukewarm response a lot of the reviewers liked the new gesture controlled user interface, the multitasking, the speed, as well as the amount of hardware packed into the device. Although they had their criticisms. To be fair, a lot of them were valid. In the end the PlayBook managed to move sales and currently it seems BlackBerry is pretty much out of inventory on the PlayBook. So you might be wondering well what's the positive.

    Here's what the PlayBook managed to do, surprisingly it distracted everyone from the BlackBerry 7 device launch and here's what I mean. BlackBerry 7 is great, overtime it became a much better OS to use because of little bug fixes that go a long way. Initially when the Bold 9900 launched, there were a lot of complaints about devices bricking themselves, battery life being very subpar, overheating issues and the list goes on. Although you wonder why it wasn't reported throughout other websites as much as the whole PlayBook fiasco. Why? Probably because they were still somewhat distracted by the PlayBook. BlackBerry had promised a lot in Summer 2011 and that kind of shifted the focus away from the phones for a bit.

    In the third quarter of 2011 BlackBerry had shipped 14.1 Million BlackBerry smartphones (Couldn't find the numbers sold). Despite the unusually high complaints, the BlackBerry 7 line sold fairly decently. Now the really interesting part is that BlackBerry was using the PlayBook as a test run for the new QNX based operating system. Due to the scalability of QNX, as well as the ability to add in application runtimes, it meant that BlackBerry could develop the PlayBook to their liking, then when it came time for them to release the BlackBerry 10 smartphones (Known as BBX smartphones at the time) they would have already done a lot of the hard work.

    So this is what they did. Little by little the PlayBook improved, at launch it was an anemic little device, but now in the present day it's a heck of a lot more usable than it was at launch. They were also able to experiment with the Android Runtime to see if that was something they would want to bring over to the BlackBerry 10 devices. The PlayBook was also seeded to developers, incentives were given as well to try and get some developers on board, it seems to have worked too. EA Games, Gameloft, Rovio, are just some of the big name application developers who got on board and more involved with BlackBerry than in the past. It also attracted a lot of other independent and smaller developer groups. Peter Hansen, developer of White Noise and Battery Guru, Maurice Rice, developer of What's Up, Innovatology, developers of Files and Folders are all examples of developers who have written amazing applications for the PlayBook and now are working on BlackBerry 10 applications.

    Did BlackBerry take a lot of hits from stock analysts? Yes, Did they lose market share? Yes, Could they have perhaps done all this earlier and avoided slipping behind? Plausible, Are they ready and back for action? H*ELL Yes.

    Long story short. The PlayBook was a test bed for BlackBerry 10. Imagine if the BlackBerry Colt (Original Dev Alpha) was released in market. I think we can all kind of agree that would have been quite the disaster. By using the PlayBook to build a developer base, at least showing developers how easy it is to port applications to the PlayBook OS, it got people interested. We can conclude that the PlayBook was perhaps the first device ever from BlackBerry in which many developers had a much easier time porting their applications rather than having to rewriting a lot of the code. It served as the first "magnet" or attraction to the platform.

    By having BlackBerry 10 based on the same foundation as the PlayBook OS (QNX) BlackBerry saved themselves a lot of headache. The decision to release the PlayBook before any BlackBerry 10 device was probably the best strategic maneuver by BlackBerry (not counting acquisitions). They allowed the PlayBook to mature, let the developers get their hands on the PlayBook and other tools like Dev Alpha devices, it showed the developer community that BlackBerry had a vested interest and having their applications on their platform. With incentives like Built for BlackBerry and the 10K Developer Challenge, they not only were able to do a "test run" of the QNX platform, but they also played it safe by waiting it out to see what works well and what didn't work so well and what they had to work on for BlackBerry 10 to become a success.

    BlackBerry is back. They played their cards right. They have a solid product. As you can see the latest BlackBerry 10 OS is rolling out on quite a few carriers, it just hit the UK. I'm sure if you're on Bell (myself included) we'll get the OS soon enough. It's a lot better than how BlackBerry Java OS updates were handled that's for sure. Many non BlackBerry users and Ex-BlackBerry users are talking about the new BlackBerry devices. BlackBerry has managed to spark quite a surprising amount of interest with their newest product launch.

    Wrapping up, I think the PlayBook was vital to the success of BlackBerry 10. BlackBerry 10 could not have had this much commotion behind it if it were not for the BlackBerry PlayBook. Sure it may have not have been the best selling tablet, sure it caused a 485 Million dollar write-off, but there's no denying how critical the PlayBook was for the BlackBerry 10 launch.
    03-01-13 09:28 PM
  2. dongeel's Avatar
    Interesting thought.
    PFairhead likes this.
    03-01-13 10:17 PM
  3. Bobert_123's Avatar
    I agree 100% and have been saying that to PB hating trolls for a while
    03-01-13 10:50 PM
  4. irrebkcalB's Avatar
    I was thinking about posting a thread on the same topic more or less. Yes, the PlayBook was critical in proving the feasibility of a mobile communications device built with the QNX RTOS. The potential of this system has barely been scratched. We have a now two year old device that performs pretty much on par with devices that require much more processing power to achieve similar results and even then the competition can't multitask to nearly the same level. Great piece of gear especially when bridged to the legacy BBs.
    03-01-13 10:51 PM
  5. toronto9696's Avatar
    after 3weeks using pb I have to say I love it more than my gf lol
    heppyX, rebroker2009 and nappp like this.
    03-01-13 11:31 PM
  6. soulbat25's Avatar
    Well written.
    Don't know if you are right or wrong. I do know that the PB is a fantastic tablet.
    Thanks.
    nappp likes this.
    03-02-13 12:19 AM
  7. raw_dog's Avatar
    Well spoken. I have had my PB for over a year and it has gotten better with each update. That is the reason I have been patiently waiting for the Z10!
    JJRabbits and nappp like this.
    03-02-13 12:33 AM
  8. nappp's Avatar
    I love my playbook too! the bridge between it and my 9930 is unmatched. I have used my tablet daily since May after release!
    03-02-13 12:40 AM
  9. joshua_sx1's Avatar
    Great perspectives...

    Only, if PlayBook is so important to BlackBerry why it is left behind? and there is no contest about it... if someone would not considered it as "left behind", well, think about this → "you are a lady, and your boyfriend is telling you that he loves you so much and that you are the most important thing in his life... only, he has to prioritize first others".

    It is understandable that BlackBerry treat PlayBook as a non-profitable liability... afterall, it is really a non-profitable liability in business of point-of-view... but during this waiting periods with BB10, the PlayBook let them stay in limelights - regardless it is "poor light" or not, the most important thing is that they were not totally forgotten... in fact, the CrackBerry stayed being a forum during those BB10 waiting period because of PlayBook... the PlayBook forum is always on top of discussion during those days... BlackBerry should at least, appreciate those people (not related to their payroll) for keeping them relevance... and rolling out BB10 asap should be one of the appreciation token they can show...

    In any management system, when the top management is going to ask when will you finish the project given to you and you answer it "later this year" - no matter how you tell them that you are totally committed on it, the time frame target of "later this year" denotes that you don't even have a plan yet... and you will end up packing up your things and looking for another job... and BlackBerry top managements knew this very well... it is Management 101... and I don't think that these top people reached their posts without even passing basic management system... only die-hard fans will accept it blindly... and only paid people will defend it furiously... but I do understand it completely, it is the way of life for different people...
    03-02-13 01:24 AM
  10. blueberrymerry's Avatar
    I think Blackberry treated the Playbook the same way Nokia treated its N900/N9/N950 series of devices - an ongoing testbed for software and hardware technologies, with the initial release being a de facto beta. It proved that QNX could be used as a backbone for a fluid, efficient operating system with real multitasking, without needing crazy amounts of processing power.

    The problem was that Blackberry sold the PB as a finished device (a very expensive one at launch day) and left users waiting forever for updates. Nokia was explicit about their devices being mainly for developers so bugs were to be expected and updates would come from both official channels and the developer community. If Blackberry was more honest to Playbook users and developers from the beginning, and if the pricing was more sensible, it could have cornered a big chunk of the market.

    As for Blackberry being back in the fray, I'm pessimistic. There is nothing in BB10 that gives it an edge over Android, Windows Phone or iOS, especially when it comes to good apps and enterprise integration. The Z10's hardware is decent but not spectacular and given the fast product cycles of the Android and Windows Phone manufacturers, it has already been left behind. BB10 is also another walled garden when compared to Jolla's upcoming Sailfish, Ubuntu Mobile or even Android, even though it shares Qt libraries with the first two platforms... that won't attract hackers and developers either.

    Sorry, BB10 is neither compelling for consumers nor for enterprise and that's not good enough to compete against the existing platforms in the market.
    03-02-13 02:31 AM
  11. FF22's Avatar
    I think Blackberry treated the Playbook the same way Nokia treated its N900/N9/N950 series of devices - an ongoing testbed for software and hardware technologies, with the initial release being a de facto beta. It proved that QNX could be used as a backbone for a fluid, efficient operating system with real multitasking, without needing crazy amounts of processing power.

    The problem was that Blackberry sold the PB as a finished device (a very expensive one at launch day) and left users waiting forever for updates. Nokia was explicit about their devices being mainly for developers so bugs were to be expected and updates would come from both official channels and the developer community. If Blackberry was more honest to Playbook users and developers from the beginning, and if the pricing was more sensible, it could have cornered a big chunk of the market.

    As for Blackberry being back in the fray, I'm pessimistic. There is nothing in BB10 that gives it an edge over Android, Windows Phone or iOS, especially when it comes to good apps and enterprise integration. The Z10's hardware is decent but not spectacular and given the fast product cycles of the Android and Windows Phone manufacturers, it has already been left behind. BB10 is also another walled garden when compared to Jolla's upcoming Sailfish, Ubuntu Mobile or even Android, even though it shares Qt libraries with the first two platforms... that won't attract hackers and developers either.

    Sorry, BB10 is neither compelling for consumers nor for enterprise and that's not good enough to compete against the existing platforms in the market.
    I don't want to LIKE what you are saying but boy does it seem appropriate. Other than being DIFFERENT (which on its own will attract adherents to test and play with) what is so compelling that it will seriously displace the already contending contenders? Rim has, at least, momentarily killed Bridge (is this another example of Rim releasing something prematurely?) seems to be questioning or removing the uniqueness of BIS - so what's the gain there?

    I will watch. I will wait. I may stick with the 9930 for years as I did with other phones.
    03-02-13 09:05 AM
  12. irrebkcalB's Avatar
    Apps are apparently showing up in bucket loads. No other system offers true multasking. BB10 offers better performance with less processor demand which of course means that hardware specification wars are mainly the domain of those a less efficient OS. Latest BB10 update is generating reports of a doubling of battery life to 24 hours. The two year old PlayBook with comparatively modest hardware performs as well or better than the latest offerings from competitors which speaks volumes about the elegance of QNX based OS. Let's not forget BB's reputation for producing robust devices that appears to remain intact following the release of the Z10. BES is still the gold standard of enterprise and now BB10 offers the advantage of being both a personal device and a dedicated enterprise device on the same phone.

    Sorry, QNX offers every advantage and few of the drawbacks. It's looking more and more like Black is back.
    goku_vegeta likes this.
    03-02-13 09:20 AM
  13. blueberrymerry's Avatar
    I don't want to LIKE what you are saying but boy does it seem appropriate. Other than being DIFFERENT (which on its own will attract adherents to test and play with) what is so compelling that it will seriously displace the already contending contenders? Rim has, at least, momentarily killed Bridge (is this another example of Rim releasing something prematurely?) seems to be questioning or removing the uniqueness of BIS - so what's the gain there?
    I'm glad they got rid of BIS because it turned BB phones into dumbphones when you're roaming or on a network that doesn't have BIS service. Routing everything through RIM infra meant a single point of failure and we saw that fail a few times. The other platforms use direct server connections through cellular data or Wi-fi and consumers didn't seem bothered by that.

    Blackberry should concede that they've lost the enterprise market. BB7 phones are being replaced by Android or Windows Phone devices in corporate deployments, more of the latter in places with lots of Microsoft software on desktops. Enterprise IT departments aren't going to muck about with an untested, possibly buggy BB10 when they can deploy working solutions on mature platforms right now. What can BB10 offer against the seamless integration of Exchange, Office and Sharepoint across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones? BES can't hold a candle to that.

    So it comes to the consumer market. Some people will switch to BB10 to try something new but the rest will be held back by the lack of comparable apps and the Z10's humdrum technical specs. Hackers and enthusiasts won't bother with BB10 because you can't root, hack and make custom firmware for it like you can with Android. The security that Blackberry is proud of in the enterprise market is useless in the consumer market.

    What's left? I, just as you, am probably going to hold on to my old BB phones and Playbook until they break. Hopefully something better comes along a few years down the road Maybe someone will pick up the pieces of QNX and whatever's left of Blackberry and make something fast, efficient, and open out of it.
    03-02-13 09:38 AM
  14. irrebkcalB's Avatar
    Once again, someone fixated on tech specs. The only folks concerned about specs are android fans. Apple folks aren't and neither are BB fans by and large as the respective OS are very efficient though iOS is definitely looking long in the tooth but due more to its OS than its hardware per se.

    I'm definitely not an expert on enterprise but BB is still the most secure device on the market. Surely BB will be able to parlay that quality to its advantage.
    03-02-13 10:08 AM
  15. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    I'm glad they got rid of BIS because it turned BB phones into dumbphones when you're roaming or on a network that doesn't have BIS service. Routing everything through RIM infra meant a single point of failure and we saw that fail a few times. The other platforms use direct server connections through cellular data or Wi-fi and consumers didn't seem bothered by that.

    Blackberry should concede that they've lost the enterprise market. BB7 phones are being replaced by Android or Windows Phone devices in corporate deployments, more of the latter in places with lots of Microsoft software on desktops. Enterprise IT departments aren't going to muck about with an untested, possibly buggy BB10 when they can deploy working solutions on mature platforms right now. What can BB10 offer against the seamless integration of Exchange, Office and Sharepoint across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones? BES can't hold a candle to that.

    So it comes to the consumer market. Some people will switch to BB10 to try something new but the rest will be held back by the lack of comparable apps and the Z10's humdrum technical specs. Hackers and enthusiasts won't bother with BB10 because you can't root, hack and make custom firmware for it like you can with Android. The security that Blackberry is proud of in the enterprise market is useless in the consumer market.

    What's left? I, just as you, am probably going to hold on to my old BB phones and Playbook until they break. Hopefully something better comes along a few years down the road Maybe someone will pick up the pieces of QNX and whatever's left of Blackberry and make something fast, efficient, and open out of it.
    Yes so what if BIS had failed a few times? Fact of the matter is anything CAN and WILL fail at some point. It's important to note that the BlackBerry infrastructure at times has been the only form of communication. There were recent cases of people not being able to do anything over the network while BlackBerry users could still use their BIS services to let their family and friends know they were doing okay explanation here There have been times where BIS has proved vital.

    The tech enthusiasts are literally that 1 percent. I'm speaking figuratively of course. These people are NOT representative of the whole population. Take a poll of 10 random people with simple random sampling. Ask them about their smartphone and what they can tell you about it. You would be surprised how little most people know or even care about technical specifications. This in essence is why Apple can get away with producing decent and relatively current hardware without having to be on the bleeding edge.
    03-02-13 10:44 AM
  16. blueberrymerry's Avatar
    Yes so what if BIS had failed a few times? Fact of the matter is anything CAN and WILL fail at some point. It's important to note that the BlackBerry infrastructure at times has been the only form of communication.
    So what as in, all your data flows through Blackberry's network so if that network fails, so what? It's a single point of failure, that's why. When it fails you lose email, Twitter, Facebook, web access, pretty much everything on the Internet.

    I'm OK with cellular carrier outages, rare as they are, because I can still use Wi-fi to access the Internet. Either way I'm accessing email and web servers directly with cellular data or Wi-fi being just a pipe to carry that data. This is possible on BB10 or any other modern smartphone platform but it's not possible on BB7 devices. I can go overseas and pop in a local GSM SIM with a cheap data plan and I'm good to go without having to bother if the local carrier supports BIS.

    I'm glad Blackberry got rid of BIS, it only made Blackberry devices dumb terminals for Blackberry's network when other smartphones are more like pocket computers.

    As for tech specs, it definitely sells for the Android crowd and that's the largest crowd at the moment. If Blackberry can't compete on specs, it should be able to compete on software and the user experience, and here it's already lost to Apple and Microsoft. BB10 should have been released with a lot more polish and a bunch of important apps, not 60,000 bad ports of bad Android apps... after all they had three years since QNX was acquired.
    03-02-13 11:05 AM
  17. RubberChicken76's Avatar

    There is nothing in BB10 that gives it an edge over Android, Windows Phone or iOS, especially when it comes to good apps and enterprise integration.
    Well, you don't think it does. What makes you right and someone who likes the BlackBerry 10 or any of the devices wrong?
    goku_vegeta likes this.
    03-02-13 11:15 AM
  18. RubberChicken76's Avatar
    Blackberry should concede that they've lost the enterprise market.
    Considering they have a pretty sizeable customer base in enterprise (particularly corporate liable), that would be ridiculous. I get that it's big news when individual companies switch, but the reality is that most corporations in the world have BlackBerry deployed to some degree. Some deployments are big, some are small, but why would the company walk away from what still amounts to a lot of customers?

    BB7 phones are being replaced by Android or Windows Phone devices in corporate deployments
    It's more iOS than either. In particular, there haven't been a lot of big "Windows Phone" deployments. I'm sure when BlackBerry enterprise sales guys send a list of what worries them, Windows Phone deployments are low, low, low on the list ... especially compared to iPhone and/or iPad deployments.

    more of the latter in places with lots of Microsoft software on desktops.
    This argument is as old as the hills. Microsoft being heavy in enterprise means they need to be watched, but does not mean victory. Windows Mobile didn't wipe out all other platforms and Windows Phone has far, far, far, far, far fewer deployments than either iPhone or BlackBerry in corporations. And it's an afterthought in terms of BYOD support in many cases.
    03-02-13 11:20 AM
  19. goku_vegeta's Avatar
    So what as in, all your data flows through Blackberry's network so if that network fails, so what? It's a single point of failure, that's why. When it fails you lose email, Twitter, Facebook, web access, pretty much everything on the Internet.

    I'm OK with cellular carrier outages, rare as they are, because I can still use Wi-fi to access the Internet. Either way I'm accessing email and web servers directly with cellular data or Wi-fi being just a pipe to carry that data. This is possible on BB10 or any other modern smartphone platform but it's not possible on BB7 devices. I can go overseas and pop in a local GSM SIM with a cheap data plan and I'm good to go without having to bother if the local carrier supports BIS.

    I'm glad Blackberry got rid of BIS, it only made Blackberry devices dumb terminals for Blackberry's network when other smartphones are more like pocket computers.

    As for tech specs, it definitely sells for the Android crowd and that's the largest crowd at the moment. If Blackberry can't compete on specs, it should be able to compete on software and the user experience, and here it's already lost to Apple and Microsoft. BB10 should have been released with a lot more polish and a bunch of important apps, not 60,000 bad ports of bad Android apps... after all they had three years since QNX was acquired.
    I can argue the same thing, if your cellular network goes down that's mobile data and voice services gone. You're not always going to be in a WiFi hotspot, also if you do use one of those MiFi devices, it's running on the carrier network as well. Bottom line is when outages due occur, you will not know when they happen nor where you will be when they happen.

    Not one line of code in the BlackBerry Java Core OS is compatible with BlackBerry 10. In fact, only webworks/HTML5 is somewhat compatible. Rewritting an operating system that's been in operation for that amount of time and the amount of features they had to code for, the optimizations, under three years to do all this is quite impressive actually. It's a complete revamp of the OS on a entirely new coding playground, BlackBerry couldn't have done it overnight nor would the end users want them to
    Last edited by goku_vegeta; 03-02-13 at 05:14 PM.
    03-02-13 01:36 PM
  20. blueberrymerry's Avatar
    I can argue the same thing, if your cellular network goes down that's mobile data and voice services gone. You're not always going to be in a WiFi hotspot, also if you do use one of those MiFi devices, it's running on the carrier network as well. Bottom line is when outages due occur, you will not know when they happen nor where you will be when they happen.
    BIS is more like a VPN with one endpoint at your carrier and the other endpoint at Blackberry's NOC, with the data flowing through Blackberry's network in the middle. BIS requires you to have a cellular carrier data plan. It doesn't run on thin air. You can use BIS on Wi-fi if you have a valid BIS data plan - the device's routing tables will route all data from the Wi-fi hotspot through your carrier's BIS setup.

    Blackberry's network is quite fragile as previous outages have shown. All data on Blackberry devices transits through this network... a single undersea cable links the main UK NOC with the Waterloo NOC so any failure on the cable or any routers/switches disrupts the whole network. I don't find it a security feature, I find it a weak point. The Internet on the other hand is full of redundant circuits so if a backhoe breaks a cable, you can easily reroute traffic through other networks.

    What's with defending Blackberry for shoddy software when they've done all this before with the Playbook? They released that with half-baked software and it wasn't until OS 2.0 a year later that it got proper functionality as a tablet, not as a sidekick to a BB phone. Even though I love the Playbook as a daily productivity tool, I will not defend Blackberry's behaviour in releasing an expensive unfinished product, getting users to test it and then promising updates that take forever to arrive. A company in Blackberry's precarious position needs to get things right, right from the start.
    uncle_numpty likes this.
    03-02-13 10:09 PM
  21. irrebkcalB's Avatar
    There have been regular updates. We just got the latest a couple of weeks ago. Used BIS in Japan via wifi constantly. It was excellent. Loved seeing the logo. It's been a great device and looks to become even greater with "PB10". Early days for this QNX based OS. Exciting stuff.
    uncle_numpty likes this.
    03-02-13 10:29 PM
  22. oilgeo10's Avatar
    On Thursday night I stopped in the local Walmart, to my surprise they had six 64gb PlayBooks in the locked tablet shelves. I was in a hurry so decided I would come back in a day or two and get another one, knowing that previously when they were in stock, they usually sat there for several weeks or more (the demo unit setup is awful, a dead PB turned partly sideways and the price sticker below it way out of date with prices from Dec '11 - Jan '12. Well to my surprise again, I went to Walmart today to get one and they were all gone! ... sold!! I'm now thinking that with the Z10 getting well received by consumers and the great swipe UI getting more exposure from Z10 sales, some of those phone buyers are now realizing how good the PlayBook is and are buying them up as well. So yeah, the PlayBook was important and now the new z10 is making some people notice it more, imo
    03-02-13 11:26 PM
  23. Bdot-1's Avatar
    Love my playbook
    03-03-13 01:05 AM
  24. SparkyBC's Avatar
    Our local Walmart has a cheap android tablet where the playbook once was on display. They have some cases and keyboards that's it
    03-03-13 03:02 AM
  25. sportline's Avatar
    Playbook? Outdated tablet with no apps, no email client at launch, remaining in beta after almost 2 years, a $500million inventory write down? Of course it's important. Good for business school case study on how can you mess around a product from almost every aspect-advertisement, launch, updates, business use, and so forth.
    Even now nobody seems to know what it is and what will it be? A bb10 tablet? When? Is it possible?



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    03-03-13 03:16 AM
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