Blackberry’s Playbook tablet was one of the most fancied launches of 2011. For all the hype surrounding this launch, the ‘Playbook’ ended up being one of the disappointments of the year 2011. Infact, it was thought of to be the game changer for the falling brand value of Research-in-Motion’s Blackberry services, but it ended up being another setback. Analysts are however of the opinion that the Playbook could translate into a match-winner for the RIM if it was to take steps to remove the shortcomings that are inherent in the product’s capability and feature set.
Over here, we try to analyze the 3 Major reasons that made ‘Playbook’ lose out to the IPad and Android tablets.
1. No Mobile Connectivity – The biggest issue with the Playbook was a lack of its ability to work on GSM or CDMA signals. In other words, the tablet would only work on a wifi connection. Although this could well serve the needs of business professionals that needed a more compact method to be in touch with the corporate peers over a wifi network, a missing mobile link meant that the tablet could not be used to support the mobile workforce. As a result, the functionality of the tablet was severely retarded. If the RIM wanted to position the Playbook as a business device, then the lack of mobile connectivity just ensured the opposite. Whether the RIM is looking into fixing this gaping loophole or not is something that we are not aware of right now. But as things stand today, there may be a hope for better times for the ‘Playbook’ in the 2012.
2. Proprietary Operating System – Another drawback of the Playbook was the operating system on which it runs; the QNX operating system is a close ended architecture that is proprietary to the RIM. This essentially means that the operating system functionality cannot be extended, and the impact is there to see in terms of a poor number and volume of apps for the RIM’s Playbook tablet. While, we do not really expect RIM to alter the QNX in anyway, we need to see if the company will lay special emphasis to promote the application development with a view to improve the apps density for the Playbook owners.
3. Inherent Issues in Emailing – Considering the business background of the RIM’s earlier products, it was clear that aspirations of the business users were clearly on ensuring flawless continuity and receipt of business emails. With the Playbook, the users required a handset to be plugged with the tablet for accessing the messaging applications. While the messaging worked, it was clear that the functionality did not afford the simplicity that is sought by an end-user. The experience was not very friendly for the users, and this directly translated into a steep decline in the sales numbers.
There are many who would vouch for the stability of the Playbook tablet and its current price of £169 simply means that is way more affordable than the launch price. Is it therefore a better deal than the Apple IPad? That is a loaded question with tonnes of different possible responses. For now, we would stick to our hope in seeing RIM take care of the bottlenecks plaguing the Playbook and make amends in the future releases in the coming new year.
Mike Long is a professional writer and tech analyst who writes on multiple subjects ranging from handheld computers to the Honeycomb 3.0 applications. He is currently engaged in writing for the Micronet offerings.