Technology is moving at a rapid pace, and often things evolve right before our eyes. The most recent tech craze has to be the emergence of the tablet as a new platform to create and share content. Everyone is aware of the Ipad as it is the market leader for the platform in terms of visibility. However, there are other tablets on the shelves that provide a good level of utility as well. There are the various Android tablets, and then there is the subject of this review: The Blackberry Playbook.
The Playbook first debuted in April of 2011, and made little of a splash on the overall scene. Marketed primarily to the business community, the device got a lukewarm reception. Priced on the high end, the Playbook seemed to be the Ipad for the corporate environment. It was cost prohibitive to anyone outside of that niche market and not truly aimed at the consumer. After launch, and seeing other tablets last year like the Kindle Fire debut and get a good amount of attention, it was time for the Playbook to adjust its high end marketed strategy. In 2012, RIM began to take the steps necessary to do just that. Price cuts due to competition would begin in late 2011.
In February, an upgrade in software to operating system 2.0 increased the functionality of the device. The two biggest most notable improvements were the inclusion of native e-mail and support for Android apps on the tablet. This is a big deal because Android apps are plentiful, and give the device some diversity in terms of what it can support. The apps that Blackberry has in its App World store at this point leave much to be desired in terms of content.
At this point, the Playbook has two major things going for it. One, it is an established brand, and can present itself as a more economic alternative to the Ipad. Two, now that the device has the ability to use Android apps, it can keep expanding in terms of wide usage. At this point, Android apps are available to Playbook users via side load, but once there is a way to access them through direct download to the device, that would signify some great possibilities.
At the moment, in terms of functionality, the tablet is in between a smart phone and a laptop. Since a tablet really cannot replace a laptop, then it shouldn’t cost more than one. The strongest pros are the ease of use and the straightforward interface. Having access to Google Calendar is great, and the Docs To Go app is really helpful when you have Word files you need to carry with you everywhere. The camera is great, and the video is in good quality. Youtube plays really well on the Playbook.
The downside to the device is that there are still certain major applications that still aren’t available for it (as of the date of this assessment) There is no Skype and no Netflix available at the moment. With the hardware being good, most of the shortcomings of the Playbook are software based.
Overall, the Blackberry Playbook is a solid tablet. Once it delivers more software upgrades, and taps into the reservoir of Android apps, it has the potential to gain broader appeal and be a player on the tablet scene. At the discounted price, for what it does, its definitely worth it.