6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook

intro6   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBookIt was only last week that HP’s tablet and mobile ventures were axed in cold blood, only a month and a half into the Touchpad’s fairly dreary life. Word soon spread about how much faster the tablet’s operating system, WebOS, performed on a hacked Apple iPad – and many have speculated that this was the killer blow.

Then again it could have just been the WebOS, without the line-up of apps that consumers go mad for, after all on hindsight very few sought a device that was built solely for web technologies.

Psst… there’s another tablet that’s probably gathering dust at your local electronic retailer, and it’s called the PlayBook.

BlackBerry’s tablet isn’t too dissimilar to the Touchpad, except the Touchpad could probably do more out of the box. Intrigued? Read on!

BlackBerry Tablet OS

Much like the recently euthanized HP Touchpad, the BlackBerry PlayBook runs its own breed of operating system based on the QNX Neutrino kernel. What this means for consumers is that unlike Android and iOS which have spent years developing, maturing and growing in popularity – BlackBerry Tablet OS has very little in the way of apps.

The app situation was so bad at launch that several of the in-built “apps” were simply web links to mobile sites, including Twitter who have shunned the platform (there are still third-party apps, of course).

blackberrytabletos   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook

This will change in a few months (apparently) when the Android Player launches in the autumn, but even so – you could buy an Android tablet today if that’s really your thing. I’m not criticizing BlackBerry Tablet OS outright – I’m sure it serves as a decent platform from which to peruse all the apps that you unfortunately don’t have.

No Native Email & Calendar

This still hasn’t been fixed, and don’t let anyone pass it off as a “feature”. If you wish to access your email and personal calendar then not only will you need a Blackberry cell phone, but you’ll need to bridge it with your PlayBook.
bridge   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook
So what’s the point? Your email’s already on your BlackBerry after all. Why go through the effort of pairing two devices only to read and reply to email on a larger screen with a touch-input keyboard (rather than the physical mini-QWERTY on your phone).

I’ve seen some trying to pass it off as being a useful safeguard – if your PlayBook gets stolen then your company’s inner workings are not available to the thief. This may be true, but Blackberry have already announced that the feature will be added at a later date. Which makes me think they never got round to it for the launch…

Sprint Cancels PlayBook 4G Plans, Other Carriers Shuffle Awkwardly

US service provider Sprint have already pulled the plug on the revised 4G version of the BlackBerry PlayBook, and (as of writing this) no other carriers have come forward either. According to Crackberry, Sprint reckon the PlayBook “just hasn’t caught on with business customers”.

The same source quotes Sprint’s reasoning: “There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer” – bravo, so the carriers have caught on. This is pretty damaging for RIM as they’re already at a brand-level disadvantage since the rise in popularity of iOS and Android devices.
quotes   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook
Who can blame the carriers when, as you can see in the screenshot above taken from the PlayBook website, reviews haven’t exactly been glowing. A handful of apps you say?

It Plays Flash

But wait! Surely that’s a good thing, right? Not really, no. Flash these days is more of an advertising tool than the be-all and end-all of rich online media. Apple’s anti-Flash policy is, on the whole, a good thing – even if you don’t use a single Apple product. It has forced many services to invest effort in new browser technologies, rather than revising old Flash projects.
amateurhour   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook
HTML5 is the way forward, and whilst the PlayBook is HTML5 compliant, you’re still going to be bombarded with animated, singing, dancing Flash adverts. This might be more of a personal choice, but if I could get rid of Flash on my main PC and solely use HTML5 and Javascript then I would.

For this reason I’d certainly not want it eating up battery on a small, portable device.

A Rushed Launch

Nothing says “cares about customers” like rushing a product to retail, quite blatantly before it is ready for public consumption. RIM certainly aren’t the first company to do this, but even so it’s not the most sensible tactic in an already saturated market.
shouldhavewaited   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook
As previously mentioned: native email and calendar apps were left out and some in-built apps served only as web links. If you bought a PlayBook at launch, then you’ll be aware that the device wouldn’t charge unless turned on (this has now been fixed) – a major problem if your PlayBook fully discharged itself.

Another major issue for anyone using AT&T in the US was the carrier’s refusal to support BlackBerry Bridge (now resolved), the vital software required for reading email on your device. AT&T weren’t keen on free tethering – did RIM not try to work this one out?

The Price

It’s $499, for an unfinished tablet with 16GB of memory that has worse battery life and a less mature OS than comparably priced competitors. This is the same price that Apple is selling their 16GB iPad 2 for – and you’ll have access to thousands of tried and tested apps down that route.
theprice   6 Reasons To Avoid The BlackBerry PlayBook
Even the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab can be picked up for around $300 if you look in the right places, making the BlackBerry PlayBook an expensive punt in the dark at just under $500 for the base model.

Conclusion

These are the reasons I personally wouldn’t buy a BlackBerry PlayBook. At the moment I wouldn’t buy another tablet either, the $500 mark is a lot of money for something less capable than a laptop yet too big to be ultra portable. If you do think a tablet would fit your lifestyle then I’d definitely recommend you consider the competition or wait a bit before shelling out for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Do you agree? Do you like the PlayBook? Have you got an iPad or Android tablet? Are tablets worth the money? You’re probably dying to have a rant – get it all out in the comments.

Image Credits: PlayBook Apps (Henk-Jan van der Klis), Should Have Waited (Julian Ehrhardt)

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45 Comments -

0 votes

Tablet in a Minute

I kind of feel the same way about the PlayBook but I do feel that it does have potential. With it missing very valuable apps it really does put it in a different category. That is why I think it has the name “PlayBook.” It is really hard to play on it though when there are barely any games or options to view content. I can see more people liking the PlayBook with a big update that adds many of the features and the price drop. 

When I switch from using my iPad to the PlayBook I suddenly feel lost and incapable. I also feel crammed with only the 7″ screen. I did use a 7″ Android tablet and I immediately felt more at home with it than I did the PlayBook since it ran every app that my phone can run.

If they RIM wants the PlayBook to have any impact it really needs to make some changes fast.

0 votes

AppleFUD

yeah, well it’s also the only tablet/pad who’s browser can actually utilize the desktop version of Google Docs properly ;)
And has a presentation mode meaning I can actually use it while streaming a movie to my TV via hdmi, or do multiple things while giving a presentation. . . .Who needs an email client when the “mobile browser” actually works with your online email client and web apps work properly ;)Since “browsing the web” is THE main use of tablets it does seem that the PlayBook has a leg up on all the other tablets with its browser. . . just sayin’

0 votes

James Bruce

“it’s also the only tablet/pad who’s browser can actually utilize the desktop version of Google Docs properly” – really? That’s kind of hilarious if it’s true. I would have thought Android-based devices could do this too though, no?

0 votes

AppleFUD

You would think, but no. The Android browser doesn’t like the desktop version of google docs. Google, hilariously, wants you to use apps. . . totally contrary to what they are doing with Chrome OS. 

Just played with many tablets at best buy again today and still the Android browser is wonky with gDocs.

0 votes

Joshua

I disagree. The touchpad browser also puts it ahead of the majority of the competition.

0 votes

AppleFUD

The TouchPad browser is a bit better at rendering than others, not as good as the PlayBook. However, it is very slow. The JavaScript engine is about 2x as slow as the others.

Not to mention that it doesn’t play well with major web apps either–gDocs, gMusic, gReader, etc. ;)
It’s wonky on all those sites, and that’s where webOS missed with the TP. The browser really needed to be spot on and it just isn’t. Sure, it may be slightly better than the worst of the lot but then again what’s the point of having something that just doesn’t get the job done? It’s just that little bit extra that they missed but it really makes it bad on certain sites.

0 votes

Anonymous

What nonsens! 
I think is your personal oppinion and shouldn’t be taken it seriously

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Naturally, it is opinion. It wasn’t meant as a troll or an attack, simply to provide a point of view that you can agree or disagree with.

0 votes

Melvin1888

Lets look at the reason why the IOS has soooo many apps, yep the Browser is crap and NEEDS the apps to give it the same functionality. The Playbook’s browser is a joy to use and I have found very few websites that cannot be used in their full glory.
I just wish all the iFans would just leave the rest of the sane world to pick and choose the products we want, based on decisions that are important to us. Stop ranting about how emotional the experience is for you.
I have used all four tablet platforms (QNX, IOS, Android and Windows) and here is my main reasons for the Playbook

1. Don’t want to sell my soul to Apple and iTunes. How can you be serious about a platform that insists you tie up your device to a piece of software I do not want on any of my PCs.
2. I like the slick interface of the Playbook and you need to spend a great deal more money to get an Android tablet with enough power to make the experience good enough. The Asus Transformer is good though. I’d pick that if I was forced to.
3. I actually want a smaller screen. I don’t want to look like an iFan, simple.
4. Presentation mode is simple fantastic. I can’t wait for further developments in this area.
5. I have a Blackberry smartphone and love it. I can run my entire business from it quick and secure!
6. I don’t want to use iTunes, oops sorry already said that, but its worth mentioning again.

My 2p

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Melvin,

I actually agree with some of your points here. I have an iPhone and iTunes is just as bad as it ever has been – trust me. I don’t like the fact that Apple get 30% of the money I pay for apps or in-app content, and the inability to simply connect the iPhone to my PC and drag ‘n’ drop MP3s annoys the heck out of me.

However, Apple have achieved their status for a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here, as we’re not talking about Apple. Despite the fact that I’d recommend anyone in the street to buy an iPhone over Android, BlackBerry or WP7 I still don’t consider myself an “iFan”. In fact, I think terms like “iFan” are just as petty as the Apple zealots you seem to be referring to.

I notice you have a BlackBerry phone, so a PlayBook makes sense. Do you think that the average consumer who uses a Droid or dumbphone would benefit from buying a PlayBook? Or would that £400 be better spent on another product – hell, even a netbook?

Just a thought.

0 votes

Jermaine

I recomend my wife throwing here iphone in trash, and since i stoped helping her with itunes she is about ready to. Think she finally realized that what she wants is a device that works like it should not a app-straviganza. She tired of her check ending calls,bluetooth that works sometimes, i-tunes, oh and I-TUNES. But this has noting to dowithartcle just comments.
Anyway i disagree with most points of this article, although some points are valid like the 2.0 update that should have been here on release so that it didn’t need to be tied to a BlackBerry phone to get funtunality that shouldbe in a tablet in my opinoin. The browser on the playbook is better than most others i have used, especially ios and android.

0 votes

James Bruce

You got a good alternative to iTunes, I assume? Or do you just want to drag and drop files into the music folder? Ah yes, there’s progress for you. Oh, those days of winamp…

0 votes

James Bruce

Also, I’m pretty sure the iPad has “presentation mode”, so I hardly see how this is a unique selling point. 

0 votes

Joshua

You do realize that there are more than the four tablet platforms that you listed, right?

0 votes

Guillermo

I don’t know if I want a tablet or not. What I do know is that if I want to make a living of writing a reputable blog, at least I should learn to correctly write the brnads I’ll write about!

It’s BlackBerry. Blackberry is the fruit.

0 votes

James Bruce

Brands.

0 votes

Refwah

You’re right, the fact he didn’t capitalise the name according to how BlackBerry would approve certainly invalidates everything else like ‘It has no email’ and ‘It’s a bit rubbish’

0 votes

Mark O’Neill

I think you’re nitpicking over the second B because you have nothing else to say. However, if it makes you sleep easier at night then I have made the corrections for you.

And before you criticise Tim for his spelling, you might want to check your own spelling.  Kind of dents your credibility a bit.

0 votes

mesasr

this is ridiculous,your reason #4 alone makes this post sound like an iPad ad
how can flash be a problem? Thats something that would make the iPad a little laggy occasionally, so instead of giving the iSheep a choice to turn it on or off, Apple is the one who made the choice for all of them and doesnt support it at all,so their device can stay 100% flawless at the expense of functionality
if thats still hard to understand, imagine a situation like this: there are 2 similar cars for example,the only real difference is that car #1 has 20% greater max speed, but with your logic, since you will never be able to take advantage of that anywhere besides fast lanes, it somehow not only doesnt make it better than #2, but even worse? 

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Personally over the years i have had an increasing number of issues with Flash. I dont like the idea that so much of my web browsing relies on a plugin when really the browser should be taking a lead roll. Flash on mobile devices has been, in my experience, even worse than the desktop. 

That’s why I would prefer all my mobile devices without Adobe’s rich media plugin (which mostly gets used for annoying adverts anyway).

0 votes

Joshua

Try webOS, flash actually performs well.

0 votes

Tim Brookes

I managed to pick up a cheap TouchPad in the firesale and I must say Flash has been giving me issues on WebOS too. Saying that for such a cheap price it doesn’t really bother me, and the browser is fairly good on the whole (HTML5 would have been nice though).

0 votes

James Bruce

Your logic sucks, let me correct it. 

There are two similar cars. The difference is that one *can* run 20% faster, but there is a 1% chance the brakes will fail once every 10 minutes, and a 50% your air conditioning will fail, as well as a 0.5% chance that your car will explode. 

Do you think you should choose the car that runs 20% with additional chance of breaking, or do you think it’s right that the manufacturers said “screw it, let’s just forget the extra 20% for the liability – we sure wouldnt like our customers car exploding”.

0 votes

mesasr

in the car case, I for one, am ok with potential risks because I am not dumb to always use the greater speed for no real reason, only when its an emergency situation
thats still very debatable though, depends on the exact situation, but “life or death” is of course very exaggerated in tablets’ case and thats why your argument becomes invalid here, flash will never brick a device and the worst case scenario will result in annoying lags or browser crash(ads dont count since I am assuming flash is turned off most of the time unless the owner constantly needs it for some reason which is highly unlikely),while the ability to display a flash site in a certain situation might be really helpful (I am a football(soccer) fan and often use a flash based livescore which displays lots of useful info,so imagine me with an iOS device if I needed scores and line ups of about 5 games, I had to either check them manually one buy one or search for another livescore which may or may not have all the required info)

0 votes

Boomstickinc

I have never heard this said better.  It blows my mind how people accept apple treating them like retards.  “We don’t think flash is good so we won’t let you use it.”  On the playbook there is a simple toggle in options to turn flash off if you want.  Apple is for complete utter simpletons….

0 votes

James Bruce

Lol. A 98% market share would somewhat disagree with you. 

0 votes

Yiannis

It’s this kind of articles that make the readers wonder how objective the authors are in their analysis and what kind of interests they serve. I’m not a tech guy; just an everage consumer.

1) Excatly, the QNX is a new OS and as such it will come with some shortfalls. The tablet is a new concept for BB and more and more apps will come in the next months. Personally, I DON’T WANT to see the app world being cluttered with thousands of apps. Sometimes the less the better and quicker. That’s personal.

2) If you think that pairing the BB with the playbook in order to see your emails and calendar (instead of having native apps for these) is such an effort then you are probably a very lazy person. I can assure that it doesn’t take more that 4secs. And, btw, i think that the bridge function is the strongest point of playbook. You have internet anytime/anywhere without paying a penny for extra contracts. I calculated that in UK that would probably save you £290 a year.

3) I couldn’t care less of what Sprint is doing. In UK it doesn’t exist and I hope playbook will stay as it is.

4) As the comment above says, your argument lacks logic. If the EXTRA functionality of flash enabled browsing is something that you don’t like you can always switch it off. If you don’t know how to do it I’ll guide you step by step (I promise you it won’t take more than 3 secs but then again for you it may look like an enternity). Btw, thanks to flash I can watch youtube, live tv and bbc news/iplayer on my playbook but then again for you the flash ads override these advantages.

5) Why do you still instist on how playbook was functioning at launch is beyond me. It has been months since its release and the current state of playbook has nothing to do with what it was in the beginning. I can forsee you having the same argument in 3 years from now….how playbook looked like when it was first released.

6) I got it from ebay for £220. Retail price in high street £399.

In conclusion. Have you ever touched/seen/held a playbook?

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Hi, thanks for the thorough reply. First of all this isn’t meant as an attack on RIM or its users, who have clearly found this post a bit of a touchy subject. In response to your question – yes I have used a PlayBook. I managed to pick up a firesale TouchPad and the same day used the PlayBook for a good while. In that time I found the interface to be smooth (moreso than the TouchPad) yet not particularly intuitive (better than a lot of sub par Android efforts, I’ll give you that), the screen too small to adequately browse web pages and the lack of an email client/calendar shocking.

Sure, Gmail works in browser – but for £399, compare the rest of the field (no I don’t have an iPad, and I wouldn’t spend the money on one either) this is a serious shortcoming. You seem to like the bridge app, and it’s great that it works for you but you have to appreciate for most it is hassle – especially if you don’t actually own a BlackBerry.

At the moment there is very little reason for a non-BB user to pick up a PlayBook. Considering that RIM have completely lost the plot when it comes to their cell phone line-up over the last 5 or so years, the numbers are limited.

Just for balance I could definitely write an X Reasons Not To Buy A Galaxy Tab or iPad article, and much like my last point here, price would have a lot to do with it. I’m not saying I’m going to write those articles, but I could and I’d probably get some very angry Android and iOS users passing comment there too!

Oh, and as an aside my Flash argument is entirely subjective yes. I’ve just had a lot of problems with Flash on Windows, Linux and recently WebOS (though even WebOS handles it better than Linux on the desktop). I personally feel that Flash has had its 15 minutes and should now go away. I feel the same about Silverlight. Sorry.

0 votes

Tim Brookes

Oh, and I just thought I’d say that I don’t have any particular brand loyalties whatsoever. I use a mix of Windows and Linux when it comes to laptop/desktop duties, I have an iPhone which I was given (and is great, but incredibly locked down which is frustrating) and again recently picked up a WebOS device.

I certainly wouldn’t buy any tablet at the ~£400 mark, even the iPad which as we all know has been given rave reviews. I gave up on brand loyalty years ago, and whilst I believe that build quality doesn’t get much better than Apple (from experience), the iPad, iPhone, MacBook and so on are not the be-all and end-all of computing.

0 votes

James Bruce

There’s a reason people are selling them dirt cheap on ebay, I wonder why?

0 votes

Jason

I have one, and I hate it. Simple things like turning it on, the swipe only works if its charged. Some indication that the battery is low (apple does it), don’t make me hold the power button.

It does not stick to the wifi access point, it will randomly select another one in the hood.

It must be charged with the RIM charger, a micro usb to power (like all others) does not work.

the thing sucks.

0 votes

Matt Smith

I reviewed a PlayBook awhile back, and yea, I agree with everything Tim has said except for counting Flash support as a negative. 

The PlayBook was a dead-end product the moment it arrived, thanks to the lack of software support including native software such as an email app. 

It doesn’t even make up for its serious flaws with a seriously lower price, so there’s no reason to own one. 

0 votes

Mjoy

The Playbook’s latest update provided 3g app support over the bridge.  Bridging is very easy and free of charge; provides “native” email if you have a Blackberry phone, full desk top web experience (yes through bridge as well and it is surprizingly fast); there is a good music service that just got up and running; the PB hardware is quite simply the best there is, screen quality is amazing, the dedicated game apps such as “dead zone” are as good as Playstation, etc.; and lest we forget, the highest rated security of any mobile device.

The most impressive thing about the PB, however, is its QNX OS.  The user interface is class of the field.  The bridge supported apps give us an inkling of what RIM has instore.  A experimental beta android player was released for a short time the and android apps ran perfectly.

We would like the media and blogosphere to be objective but as far as the PB goes, it seems to be the same less than fully informed talking points repeated again and again. I suppose RIM could held partly at fault for this as they haven’t been able to get in front of the “There’s no home button so it can’t be any good!” silliness in the initial reviews.  In point of fact the UI makes a home button redundant and almost entirely removes the need for a power button (which is why it is so small). 

All in all the nascent PB is arguably the best tablet device available but one would only know this if one had full knowledge of the facts.  Still elements missing from it but it’s only 4 months old let’s not forget.

0 votes

James Bruce

That sounded great until I realised it was an obvious press release. 

You know why the same tired old points are being repeated? Because they matter. If I dont own a BB phone already, I cant get email on the device? Do you have any idea how utterly ridiculous that sounds? “Arguably the best tablet device” – that doesnt do email? ROFL! 

0 votes

Goldishbird

Makes no sense in buying a playbook.
iPad is too expensive for a tablet, Android tablet is  better option at this time.

0 votes

Jorgerochamarin

Playbook is not for everyone. I have a BB Phone and a Playbook. 

iPad is for everyone is an easy gadget (bad one but easy) even my daughter (2 years) can play with one. That why is not the best one, just the easy one

0 votes

Amritha

No native e-mail and calendar? What is the web browser for? I have the Playbook and it’s  blazing fast for browsing, gaming, and please stop this sob story about apps. Did you actually forget the soul of the web, that is the internet. It does actually have some very decent apps- Facebook including, tablet -optimized. And Android app support is coming soon through a software upgrade. 

And it’s the king of portability, trust me, you would want to carry it everywhere and the 7-inch form factor is more than enough for multimedia, doing docs, browsing, movie watching….Blackberry bridge works brilliantly in non wi-fi zones. Love the keyboard too.Read this:http://technmarketing.com/2011/08/why-910-people-would-prefer-the-blackberry-playbook-over-the-ipad/

0 votes

Del Simmons

I have had a Playbook since they launched and I have to tell you I love it. The OS is slick and fluid, the browser is the best on any tablet and the integration with my BlackBerry phone is awesome. The truth is that it has completely changed the way I work and play. My poor laptop never leaves the house anymore. If I do need to do something on it, I just connect remotely from the Playbook, but I’m finding that happening less as more apps and capabilities come out native to the Playbook. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming OS update that will include more native apps and the Android Player. 

While the limited app selection is a bit annoying at times, I have high hopes for the future. Remember, it took quite a while for iOS and Android to develop the large app selections they have as well. The Tablet OS is a brand new platform (although based on the tried and true QNX workhorse micro-kernel) and developers are now being given many options for developing across all three platforms from one code base. This is now possible using tools from Adobe as well as other platforms like Unity and Marmalade. My point is only that the apps will come and the development of a robust app ecosystem takes time.

I believe that RIM has laid an incredible foundation and that the Playbook will only continue to blossom as a platform. I don’t disagree that it has some limitations at thw moment, but I will say I still think it is the best option for anyone with a BlackBerry phone. With the major updates slated for the near future it might become one of the best choices even for others as well. Big thinks are coming in the QNX space and I think anyone who doesn’t see that might not be taking all factors into account.

0 votes

Amritha

 Very objective, thanks.

0 votes

Rezo

how much is apple paying you?

0 votes

Suhel

I don’t understand the use of tablets anyways *ignorance is bliss* lol

0 votes

Wraybourne

well I bought a playbook simply because it fitted in my purse, the apps i need I am a family historian aren’t avaible  what a waste of money

0 votes

Cpjohn1

I have a Playbook.  Love it!

0 votes

andrew hodge

is it bad that i am reading this on a playbook? i actually turned in a xoom for this… my reason? free teathering through blackberry bridge on sprint.

0 votes

Ghajdg

is there any reason to avoid blackberry playbook except on your 6 “fugly” reasons? duh! so pathetic, or you might just wanna say that your one of the BB haters? come one take it professionally..