Print 6 comment(s) - last by melgross.. on Dec 31 at 11:38 AM

Limited apps and battery woes may delay tablet until Q2 2011

With much of Research In Motion's future hinging on the success of its upcoming tablet, the PlayBook, the latest news that the device has been delayed to the second quarter of 2011 because of poor battery life cannot help the Blackberry maker.

According to eWeek, a report from Kaufman Bros. has determined that poor battery life is the cause for RIM pushing the launch of the tablet back. 

"We hear that the PlayBook needs to improve [its] relatively poor battery life of a few hours compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for the iPad," Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a Dec. 28 research note. "From our understanding, this could require a bit of re-engineering."

Part of the poor battery performance is thanks to the QNX-based OS that the device runs, which was designed for network equipment and automobiles, "where battery life isn’t as much a constraint," Wu writes.

Added to the battery woes are reports that developers are uncertain about supporting both the QNX-based OS for the PlayBook and the newly minted BlackBerry 6 OS, particularly when others are consolidating around Android and iOS. QNX has not proven to be all that attractive. It may help when it replaces the OS on RIM's BlackBerry handsets, but that is still a far off prospect. 

RIM also lacks content support for movies, television, e-books, Wu writes. He predicts the PlayBook to sell a lackluster 700,000 units in 2011, thanks more to the overall dominance of the iPad in the tablet market.

RIM, however, was quick to dispute Wu's claims, putting out the following statement late yesterday:

Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.

An official announcement of the PlayBook's launch date has not been made.

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By jah1subs on 12/30/2010 9:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
I am wondering on the other hand what the impact of all of the apps with spyware on Apple and Android will be. The story appeared in the last week in the Wall Street Journal.

I can imagine a lot of corporate executives saying we don't want that problem with our corporate smartphones. If we are on BlackBerry we stay on BlackBerry. Let's mothball any plans we have for supporting non-BlackBerry employee phones

And, oh yeah, as long as we're being asked about supporting more than BlackBerry, we can always wait a while. Microsoft might have a newer, better answer than Apple or Google.

By Shadowself on 12/31/2010 8:17:59 AM , Rating: 2
Apple announced long ago that corporations can lock down their iPhones to just allow corporate approved apps and usage. Corporations implementing such techniques can even brick an iPhone of any user that violates corporate policy.

This eliminates the issues of apps reporting back on what a user does or has on the iPhone. The IT department just needs to screen the apps allowed on corporate phones.

I haven't read any announcements to this effect (and haven't investigated the possibility of Android devices as a corporate asset), but I'd be surprised if the manufacturers/carriers supporting the Android OS don't have a similar implementation.

There will always be an issue of an app having the ability to report back information. It's not really a mobile OS issue. It will show up on RIM's systems too. That's why corporations need to carefully screen apps and monitor all updates.

However, it's the same old story. Back, 30-40 years ago, the saying in corporate America was, "No one ever gets fired for buying IBM." Back, 10-20 years ago it was, "No one ever gets fired for buying Microsoft." For the last couple years it's been, "No one ever gets fired for buying RIM." This is slowly changing, but a lot of corporate buyers will buy tablets from RIM before they buy them from Apple or one of the Android OS vendors.

By melgross on 12/31/2010 11:32:52 AM , Rating: 3
So, going by what you're saying, we can expect corporations to not use Windows on their computers because of all the virus's, malware, keyloggers, security lapses and such?

What we're seeing on Android and iOS is nothing compared to that, particularly iOS, where Apple does go after apps that cause problems, though Google has stated that they have a more hands off policy.

While I can't speak much to Android take-up by corporations for tablets, as there's only one decent model around right now, the iPad is being bought by the thousands by a number of individual companies, and hundreds by many others, while thousands of companies are testing their usage. Governments around the world have been officially adopting them as well.

Meanwhile, Windows 7 tablets, and there are a few around, have been going nowhere.

The Playbook will sell to companies who are on RIM's systems. But how well is another question. There's no reason to believe that QNX is any more secure in a tablet use model than anything else. RIM would need to modify it for that purpose. There's also far less control with web based apps. There's nothing that a company can do about how they work. Web based apps have been rejected by iOS users, and that may be the case with this as well, and we'll have to see how popular Chrome OS will be with the same concept.

Then there is the question of just how powerful web based apps can be when compared to hardware based apps. So far, they're much less so.

I think RIM will have an uphill battle selling a lot of these, though they will sell them. With so much business software already available for the iPad, the Playbook will have a lot of catching up to do.

By melgross on 12/31/2010 11:38:18 AM , Rating: 2
I almost forgot, if RIM is planning a cloud model for this, an article on this page sidebar shows why this is more worrisome that what's been reported for iOS and Android, which is a minor problem according to experts.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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