Ruh roh, Shaggy. If what we're hearing from news and rumor site Fudzilla turns out to be true, Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet could have a tough time taking on the iPad, Galaxy Tab, and every other slate. According to Fudzilla, battery life woes are proving to be a thorn in RIM's side.
"Apparently, the issue stems from the adapted QNX OS that powers the new PlayBook tablet along with the fact that the OS was never really optimized for battery life," Fudzilla explains. "To address this issue the engineers at RIM have had to adapt, refine and build new routines at low levels to allow the OS to only sip the battery power to extend battery life. Optimizing battery life isn’t an easy thing to do and takes significant time and work."
This isn't a death knell for the PlayBook, and most agree the device holds a lot of promise. But don't rule out a delay, either. The last thing RIM wants to do is push out a half-baked tablet to go up against competing slates boasting 6-10+ hours of battery life.
You might not have heard of the Astonishing Tribe (TAT). But if you carry an Android phone, you are enjoying their work. TAT designed the pull down notification bar that makes Android notifications so efficient. TAT has developed user interface paradigms for numerous companies, but now they will be lending their expertise to a single company: RIM. That's right, the BlackBerry UI might be getting a lot more awesome now that RIM has acquired TAT.
On the RIM company blog, the company CTO David Yach said he was "excited" to have TAT joining RIM to work on both the BalckBerry Playbook and smartphones. This is great news for fans of the Canadian smartphone maker. While their business functionality has always been solid, a dated UI and lack of consumer features would be liabilities going forward.
This does, however, mean that Android will have to soldier on without TAT's UI prowess. How do you think this will affect the BlackBerry interface going forward?
Samsung has already racked up 600,000 Galaxy Tab sales and the iPad still dominates the tablet market, so where does that leave the competition? In really good shape, apparently. Ittai Kidron, an analyst with Oppenheimer, predicts that Research In Motion's (RIM's) PlayBook will fall into the hands of 3.3 million users by 2012, CNet reports.
The PlayBook is taking aim at the enterprise crowd where interest has been heating up. Because of this, Kidron sees RIM selling 100,000 PlayBook devices in the fiscal fourth quarter ending February 28 with an average selling price of $540.
Is Kidron being overly optimistic? It's far too early to tell, but it certainly didn't hurt that RIM recently posted a side-by-side comparison of its PlayBook with the iPad in which the PlayBook trounced Apple's magical tablet in page loads, Flash capability, and overall performance.
One of the most important aspects of any mobile device in this day and age is the quality of the browsing experience. While the iPad is understood to have a great browser, it might have met its match in the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook. RIM is going all out to promote their tablet, and this new video is turning some heads.
The side-by-side comparison shows the iPad browser being schooled by the PlayBook in a number of ways. The PlayBook manages to load web pages at almost desktop speeds. The iPad, while fast, cannot compete. Rendering on both devices is similar, but the PlayBook also loads Adobe Flash content. HTML5 performance was also demonstrated, giving the PlayBook the clear win there as well.
The iPad might still have the edge in that you can actually buy it, but the PlayBook is looking more compelling than it might have at first. Do you find this demo convincing, or will you only believe it when the product is real?
According to a Bloomberg report, Research In Motion (RIM) plans to sell its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in early 2011 for less than $500, which can be viewed as an attempt to sweep the legs out from under Apple's iPad.
The cheapest iPad available runs $499, which gets you the Wi-Fi only version with 16GB of storage, or you could spend as much as $829 for the flagship model with 64GB and 3G baked in. Samsung's Galaxy Tab so far is the only tablet to really challenge the iPad, but it too is pricey, especially if you don't commit to a 2-year service agreement.
First run PlayBook devices will only come with Wi-Fi, but its sub-$500 price tag could spark a price war among tablet makers, of which there looks to be many.
"There's going to be a lot of tablets on the market so I think pricing is going to start coming down," said Matt Thorton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC in Boston.
Like the Galaxy Tab, RIM's PlayBook is a 7-inch slate, compared to the iPad's 9.7-inch screen. It will come ARMed with a Cortex A9 dual-core processor clocked at 1GHz, 1GB of RAM, 3MP front-facing camera, 5MP rear camera, and 16GB or 32GB of storage. Other features include HDMI, microUSB jack, 1080p playback (via HDMI), and Bluetooth.
When RIM introduced the BlackBerry PlayBook, a real live demo of the device was conspicuously absent. At today's Adobe MAX conference, RIM put some of these doubt to rest by showing off the tablet in all its QNX-running glory. CEO Mike Lazaridis demoed the device live for the assembled developers. He showed off not just the device's multitasking interface, but also its imbedded Flash Player.
Lazaridis loaded up the full YouTube page and proceeded to play a video in HD resolution (over Wi Fi of course). Playback was surprisingly smooth and the page was still scrolling accurately while playing Flash. The basic message of the demo was a not too well veiled swipe at Apple. "We're not trying to dumb down the Internet for a small mobile device," said Lazaridis.
It is encouraging to see RIM actually has a product stable enough to show off on the big screen at MAX. Only time will tell if consumers or businesses will be interested in the device. Would you buy one, and what should the price be?
Apple CEO Steve Jobs sure ruffled some feathers with his statements on yesterday's earnings call. RIM is just the latest to respond to some of the assertions Steve Jobs made. RIM CEO Jim Balsillie posted a rebuttal on the RIM blog that covered a few points. First, Balsillie contended that a 7-inch tablet will work for consumers just fine. Jobs claimed the users would have to "sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size" to use a 7-inch tablet. RIM also reminded us that their PlayBook will have Adobe Flash support.
RIM's other beef with Jobs revolved around the Apple claim that they had passed Blackberry in sales. Balsillie claims that Jobs was comparing a time they knew BlackBerry sales would be weak, leaving out the higher demand month of September in RIM's numbers. We may have to wait to see if an outside group can compare overall sales from the same period to settle this. In the meantime, we await the next company to launch a counterattack at Steve Jobs.
The rumors have been swirling for months that BlackBerry maker RIM would be launching a tablet device. Today at the RIM developer event, that rumor became reality with the introduction of the BlackBerry PlayBook. This device will sport some serious specs and an all new RIM operating system based on the QNX system.
The PlayBook will run on an ARM Cortex A9 dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and will have a 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen. There will be both HDMI and USB ports, with the former capable of full 1080p output. In the camera department, we're looking at a 3 MP front facing, and 5 MP rear facing sensor. There will be A/B/G/N Wi-Fi, but the PlayBook will be capable of Bluetooth tethering to Blackberrys for internet connections as well.
This new QNX-derived OS will have slick webOS-like app switching, and a WebKit browser with Flash. In teh media department, there will be support for MP3, AAC, and WMA for audio; video support comes in the form of H.264, MPEG, DivX, and WMV. No exact release date or price was given. Just that a launch was expected in the coming weeks. A mention was made of working with developers, so hopefully, we can expect some sort of app ecosystem here.