While its a good product, I think its too late.
RIM unveiled their upcoming tablet called PlayBook at the BlackBerry Developer’s Conference yesterday. Sadly, I don’t think this device will be a successful product for them.
First of all, RIM is trying to play it cool with this product showcasing gaming and multimedia as some of the key areas for this device, yet they don’t have the eco-system of iTunes or the experience of being a consumer-centric manufacturer. Yes, BlackBerry phones had risen in popularity with the general consumer a couple of years back but the iPhone and Android based phones have hurt RIM badly in this area. Currently, the business user is the primary user-base for RIM and I believe that if they want to get a tablet it will be more for fun that work where the iPad currently reigns supreme.
Next, Android based tablets will be attacking in full force early next year bringing the price of tablets down. Also keep in mind that both the iOS and Android platforms, although available for a significantly lesser number of years than the BlackBerry, have a much larger number of apps available for them. Like it or not, the number of Apps and the prices of devices are key factors to selling a touch based device.
I’m not saying the Playbook is a bad device. In fact, it has a pretty good configuration with some serious horse-power and, from the videos I’ve seen, a pretty and elegant OS to compliment it. Though I must say that the lack of 3G/4G is puzzling. Yes, I read that it will be added in future models but considering that both the iPad and Android based tablets support it right now, I’m shocked that a company that puts affordable connectivity as a primary aspect of their Smartphones doesn’t.
What I am saying is that I just don’t think it will catch on and be a successful product- a bit like the Palm Pre which I still think comes powered with an awesome O/S and I love the form factor. The BlackBerry Playbook just doesn’t have the eco-system of the iPad or the momentum of Android.