Entries in BlackBerry (2)

BlackBerry PlayBook - a first look at web browsing performance

We were quite stunned by the performance of the PlayBook as demonstrated by Matthew from the web browser group at RIM, but not in a good way.

As we mentioned in an earlier article, the PlayBook is packing some state of the art hardware. The dual core Cortex A9 processor alone should give the PlayBook a huge speed advantage over the iPad when rendering web pages, this just doesn't seem to be the case.

Watch the video again, but this time mute the volume. Watch closely for the actual completion of page rendering on the PlayBook, you'll notice that it completes on average 2 seconds before the iPad. Not quite the speed demon that Matthew would like as to believe. In other tests the PlayBook is shown to render Flash and HMTL 5 content in a more complete and speedy fashion. We can't argue with the results, the PlayBook does indeed appear to be way more useful for those looking to access Flash content or HTML 5 based web sites and services.

Nice, but what will the PlayBook actually be up against?

The biggest problem with Matthew's PlayBook video is that it's clearly a case of vapourware verses hardware, a preproduction unit verses hardware that shipped about 8 months ago. The PlayBook's main competition will most likely be the iPad 2 not this current model.

Although iPad Creative is focused on Apple's 'magical' tablet we are eager to see what the competition can do with a similar form factor and for a comparable price. A few years from now we imagine that tablet computing will be the predominant class of computers in homes and business alike. Will BlackBerry be a part of this next wave of computing? It's hard to tell, but by the end of next year we should have a clear indication of who the main players will be.

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.