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Entries in PlayBook (3)

Why it's unlikely that you'll even consider a Xoom, PlayBook or TouchPad?

We can count on one hand the number of friends or associates that have switched back to a Windows PC after purchasing their first Mac. It does happen occasionally, but it's certainly a rare event and is nearly always a move forced by a limited finances rather than a genuine desire. Apple know how to delight their customers.

During 2011 the multi-touch tablet computer market, which Apple single handedly created during 2010, will explode. What was once a vacuum will become an entire universe of devices. So what makes us so confident that you will be unlikely to even consider any other tablet for the foreseeable future?

As we shall outline below, Apple have 3 key advantages over the competition. These advantages have been used to good effect in almost all of Apple's greatest achievements, but the iPad, unlike the iPhone and iPod touch and even the Mac, is the perfect platform to showcase each and every one of them.

Meticulous hardware design: The 'Ive' advantage

Jonathan Ive is the award winning designer behind nearly all of Apple's greatest triumphs since Steve Jobs' return to the company back in 1997. Ive and his team are generally considered to be the best industrial design team in the tech industry. The Ive advantage is a significant one, it goes way beyond making pretty devices and extends right into the very heart of each device, enabling Apple to offer key advances over the competition is the areas of weight, size, battery life and durability.

No life without iLife: The software advantage

First iWork and now iLife. We believe that Apple will eventually bring all of their flagship Mac applications to the iPad platform. Some, such as iPhoto, will appear with the next iteration of the iPad (what better app to showcase a Retina Display equipped iPad) and others, such as Final Cut, may not arrive for many years, but they will all arrive eventually. We cannot foresee any content creation applications that are as lovingly crafted as GarageBand, iMovie, Pages or Keynote making an appearance on Android or WebOS within the next 2 years. A killer app is a application that is so essential to its intended audience that it can sell hardware on its own merit. GarageBand and iMovie are killer apps, they will be improved, refined and promoted year-on-year.

If these first additions of GarageBand and iMovie are any indication, Apple's software advantage will be even more important on iOS than Mac OS X.

Platform security: The 'whole enchilada' advantage

Whilst some bemoan the restrictive nature of Apple's ecosystem, it's now impossible to deny that it is this 'walled garden' approach that is in itself driving interest in all iOS products, both hardware and software. A walled garden is certainly not everybody's cup of tea, but millions of new iPad owners are seeing the benefit of a curated platform, one that means they can forget about the more technical aspects of computing and just focus on doing and creating. Apple doesn't make computers IT managers, it makes them for everyone else.

The other manufacturers, platforms and ecosystems will certainly entice many over the next 12 to 24 months, but we don't honestly think many current iPad owners will be amongst them. Going back to a Windows box after owning a Mac is hard, we believe moving to an Android or WebOS tablet after owning an iPad would be heartbreaking.

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.