Technology Review: Blackberry Playbook

Blackberry Playbook


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.

-Marc W. Polite


  1. With all due respect, I have to say: Sorry Marc. Gotta stick up for the BlackBerry PlayBook. In fact, I started “BlackBerry PlayBook: The Blog” at

    Admittedly, RIM approved me as one of the very first reviewers of the device. I received my brand new BlackBerry PlayBook two days before it launched to the public. I remember sending out a Tweet and posting on other social media and the reception was lukewarm as you mentioned.

    That lasted about an hour.

    Since I was covering the Game 2 of the NBA Playoffs which put the New York Knicks against the Boston Celtics on April 19, 2011 – the official date of its launch – I decided to do all of my interviews on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Little did I know I would start a controversy in the locker room and among the journalists and fans at the game.

    Not one person who saw the device failed to ask to see it. Every single person who touched it was in love. In fact, several interviews turned into mini commercials for the device. The questions poured in from the players and it became clear that most of my locker room reports would include the words “BlackBerry PlayBook.” “Does it BBM?” “Can I hold it?” “Take my picture, let me see what it looks like.”

    Although the guys are usually not in a hurry to ask a female reporter many questions, they couldn’t get enough of the device. I was an instant rockstar. I’ve had their total respect ever since.

    Truth is: It’s tough to be a female reporter covering male dominated things like sports and technology. Guys don’t really think women can add much value to the conversation but between you and me, technology has always been my secret weapon.

    In nearly every aspect of my career, I’ve been first to introduce technology to my peers and my audience. The BlackBerry PlayBook – for those who bother to really understand the device – is the greatest tablet on the market because if you’re a busy executive or a person with a real life, you know you need one device that does everything. That my friends is the BlackBerry PlayBook.

    With enterprise software like the entire Microsoft Office suite, Acrobat PDF and others, I never even had to go to the office to read attachments, open and edit PDFs. I was able to compose emails and – wait for it – an entire short story on the tablet. The ease of the keyboard coupled with the HD video and photos left my peers in the dust.

    I’ve taken the BlackBerry PlayBook on the red carpet with me to events like the BET Awards. The celebs made a bee-line to me because they were so interested in finding out about the device. I’ll go into all the features one-by-one in later posts, but I had to start this blog because I couldn’t sleep thinking there might be one person out there who doesn’t understand that – unlike the other vanity tablets out there – BlackBerry PlayBook is the real thing.

    But hey, don’t believe me. Check out a few of my videos and decide for yourself.

    Rapper and Love & Hip Hop star Jim Jones caught by DC Livers at secret BET Awards meeting

    On the Red Carpet with actor/author/activist Hill Harper

    Carmelo Anthony at NBA Playoffs 2011 Press Conference

    On the Red Carpet with singer Keri Hilson

  2. Good morning DC. I appreciate your commentary. However, I wasn’t attacking the Blackberry Playbook. I was only saying that it received a lukewarm reception at first. That is changing. With the addition of Android apps, that may be the thing to get more people to start looking at it as an alternative.

    I respect your passion, but lets be honest about it. The Blackberry was not aimed first at the consumer. It was more so marketed to the business community. One question I have to direct towards you DC. Are you saying that at this moment the apps available on the Blackberry Playbook right now through the device are sufficient?

  3. Marc,

    I agree with your assessment of the playbook. Especially with the 2.0 update, I think it could be a major player in the tablet market but that just won’t happen. Blackberry as a brand has lost considerable public excitement and appeal over the past new years. With Windows 8 on the horizon, the introduction the newest Ipad, and the continued onslaught of cheap android tablets, I honestly don’t think that the Playbook has a real chance of making an impact.

  4. Good evening Elden. The Playbook is gaining more apps daily, so I would have to disagree with your overall outlook. The windows tablet was scrapped (The courier) and there are so many Android tablets that one really hasn’t stood out.

  5. Admiring the persistence you put into your website and detailed information you present.
    It’s awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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