One of the most anticipated tablets of 2011 is Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, just don't expect it to be the iPad killer anti-iOS fans have been waiting for, at least not at launch. A leaked internal document making the rounds reveals that the PlayBook with ship with several key features missing, including support for email, contacts, and messaging. To use them, you'll need to link up with a BlackBerry smartphone, or use a Web browser.
As far as Hewlett-Packard is concerned, Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet hits awfully close to home. Never mind that the PlayBook sports a 7-inch screen compared to the TouchPad's 9.7-inch display, it's the PlayBook's operating system, powered by QNX, that reminds HP a little too much of webOS. You could say the similarities are uncanny, and in fact those are the exact words HP's Jon Oakes, director of product marketing, used when comparing the two tablets.
Think Research In Motion's upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook is only for business users? It's not, and to drive that point home, the PlayBook will sport a couple of preloaded games: Need for Speed Underground and Tetris. These are full-version titles that come standard with the device, and not game demos, though you do have the option of purchasing additional cars in NFS.
There's a rumor floating around that Research In Motion is working on software that would allow Android applications to run on the company's upcoming PlayBook tablet. News first broke on Bloomberg, which got the information from "three people familiar with the matter." According to Bloomberg and its sources, RIM will integrate the technology into the PlayBook's OS and could have it ready by the second half of the year.
Yet another leaked slide made its way into cyberspace, this latest one revealing launch details for Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet. According to the slide, which first appeared on CrackBerry, Office Depot will sell the PlayBook sometime in late March or early April for $500. That's for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, which stacks up nicely against Apple's 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, although the upgraded iPad 2 is just around the corner as well.
Maybe we're too old, stubborn, or set in our ways, but we don't fancy the idea of our smartphones tattooing text messages on our bodies. Most of you probably don't either, so it's a good thing that's not what Research In Motion (RIM) is working on. Instead, RIM, along with the Royal College of Art's Helen Hamlyn Center, are busy developing a technology called SkinDisplay. Learn how it works after the break.
Jonesing for a BlackBerry Curve with a touchscreen display? You might just get your wish. According to CrackBerry.com, Research In Motion is planning to release the BlackBerry Touch Curve in late 2011 or early 2012. That's still a long ways off, and so specs could change between now and then, but here's how it's currently configured.
CrackBerry says it will ship with a Qualcomm MSM 8655 processor clocked at 800MHz. It doesn't appear to have a hardware keyboard, which would make it the first Curve to ship without one. Otherwise, it comes with a trackpad and navigation keys, a 5MP camera with HD video recording, 1GB of internal flash-based storage, 512MB of RAM, a microSD card slot, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, GPS, micro USB, Bluetooth, accelerometer, and an ambient light sensor.
That's how the CDMA version breaks down, though it's a safe bet there will also be a GSM variant.
You're probably familiar with W. Clement Stone's advice to "Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star." Research In Motion (RIM) is certainly aiming high and expects to ship more than 1 million of its upcoming PlayBook tablets in the first quarter of 2011, DigiTimes reports.
That would be enough to surpass the amount of Motorola Xoom tablets, which is expected to be in the neighborhood of 700,00 to 800,000 units. It would also give RIM a great start in competing against Apple's well established iPad, of which all other tablets will inevitably be measured against, not just in features (Apple could very well lose that one), but in shipments and sales figures.
RIM's shipment goal means the company is planning to blitz the market, considering the PlayBook won't launch until March in Wi-Fi form. Sometime after that, a 3G version will follow.
RIM's PlayBook has been the center of criticism over potentially poor battery life. But according to RIM, battery life will be competitive with other tablets on the market.
Raymond Reddy used to work in Corporate Development over at Research In Motion (RIM). Now he's an outsider looking in, and what he sees are a handful of obstacles standing ahead of RIM's upcoming PlayBook.
Speaking with Business Insider, Reddy identified at least three areas where the PlayBook could potentially run into trouble. First, the device might simply be too late. According to Reddy, RIM didn't anticipate how difficult it would be to port the BlackBerry interface over to the new QNX operating system.
Secondly, there won't be many third party apps, and this ties in with the point above. It will be a challenge, Reddy says, to convince developers to port their apps from the BlackBerry OS over to QNX.
And finally, Reddy says the Wi-Fi only version isn't going to appeal to users who need access to corporate BlackBerry email accounts.
One thing Reddy didn't really touch on was battery life. There has been some concern in the media that the PlayBook's battery life will fall far short of the competition, though RIM insists such claims are bogus and those who say otherwise have been playing with early beta versions of the PlayBook that have yet to be optimized.
To say it's been a good quarter for Google's Android platform is an understatement. Back in August 2010, Android trailed behind Apple in smartphone market share by 4.6 percentage points. But for the 3 month average ending November 2010, Android sits on top of Apple with a 26 percent share of the market, compared to Apple's 25 percent share, according to new data by comScore.
"After several months of strong growth, Google Android captured the #2 ranking among smartphone platforms in November with 26.0 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers. Apple accounted for 25.0 percent of smartphone subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points), followed by Microsoft with 9.0 percent and Palm with 3.9 percent.," comScore notes.
Android posted the biggest point change of them all, and by a wide margin. While Google moved up 6.4 percentage points, Apple was the only other company to post a gain, and by less than 1 percentage point.