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iPad vs. BlackBerry PlayBook 

On the paper the newly announced BlackBerry PlayBook is quite special, in fact it could easily be classed as a next generation tablet device. When we read the press release late last night we were immediately impressed by some of its features.

There's no denying that having a dual core Cortex A9 processor at its heart will make the PlayBook a formidable beast. The Apple A4 chipset used in the iPad contains a single core Cortex A8 processor running at 1GHz, so in theory the PlayBook should run rings around the iPad. Also, having MicroHDMI, MicroUSB, front and rear facing cameras gives it the edge for photographic and video content creation and external screen presentation. However, specifications can only get you so far, more is needed if the PlayBook is to take on the current king of tablet devices, the Apple iPad.

In our opinion, there are three big challenges that face the PlayBook

Price. As Samsung recently demonstrated with the Galaxy Tab, getting close to the iPad price point is pretty tricky, especially if you want to exceed the specification of the current iPad.

Apps. The success of the iPad is not just down to the magical web browsing experience, beautiful photo presentation, or the range of books available, it's about the apps. Just recently the number of available apps for the iPad surpassed 30,000. The quality and diversity of those applications present a serious hill that the PlayBook will need to climb if it is to become a serious contender to the iPad.

Availability. The PlayBook will not be available until early 2011. This is most unfortunate timing as it's quite likely that Apple will have already announced, and possibly even shipped, iPad 2 by mid January 2011.

To sum up, we believe that the PlayBook is a nice looking device with plenty of potential, but its success in the marketplace might depend more on the specification and launch date of the iPad 2 than anything BlackBerry have in mind. We'll keep a keen eye on BlackBerry.

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Reader Comments (4)

It looks much nicer at first glance than something I would have expected from Blackberry, but you really hit the nail on the head here. It's competition is by no means the current generation iPad.

Also, despite the dual-core A9, this thing will probably feel slow next to iPad. From the little I've read so far, developers can either write web apps or flash apps. There's no way I could get Filterstorm running on that hardware at nearly the speed it does on the current generation iPad hardware. And unless it uses something like click to flash while browsing the web, the flash content will probably slow that experience to a crawl, as well.

I'm also pretty skeptical about the battery life for similar reasons.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTai Shimizu

Thanks for commenting Tai, much appreciated. And thanks for adding in those extra details, I hadn't really considered the implications of that extra horsepower on the battery. It will struggle to hit 10 hours for sure. One of the most pleasing things about the iPad is being able to pretty much forget about battery life.


September 28, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

I agree with what has been said already, but I also think that the audiences for the two devices are different. In my opinion it already feels like a corporate, non-creative device, but that might just be my own prejudice against BB after having to use one of their devices every day for work.

Everything the device does seems to be designed to get in your way, rather than enable the user to accomplish tasks. It is a breath of fresh air to come home and pick up the iPhone!

I think the OS and the underlying technologies are going to be really key to the PlayBook's success (or otherwise). But if the PlayBook is aimed more at the corporate world they are already trained to accept a crashing, buggy and lumpy operating system as standard, so perhaps this will revolutionise their world. ;-)

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Phil, I think you're right that they're largely trying to play to their strengths in the corporate world, and that's probably the only place they have a real chance. However, it does seem from the video that they also want to make a big push into gaming, even the name 'playbook' suggests that.

From experience, iPad really is fantastic in a corporate setting, but of course Apple has the exact opposite challenge in trying to get corporations to not think of them as a consumer products company.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTai Shimizu

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