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RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (left) shows off the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.  (Source: intomobile.com)
In other news, RIM chiefs form Spin Doctors tribute band

A few days after Research In Motion's first foray into tablet computers, the BlackBerry PlayBook, began garnering less-than-stellar reviews, RIM's co-CEOs are coming out to defend it.

While our review round-up certainly didn't paint a flattering picture of the PlayBook, we did have some bright spots to point out. Meanwhile, a Reuters report this morning began with the following line: "RIM's PlayBook tablet bombed with influential technology reviewers who called the iPad competitor a rushed job that won't even provide RIM's vaunted email service unless it's hooked up to a BlackBerry."

The report also quotes the New York Times' David Pogue's review: "RIM has just shipped a BlackBerry product that cannot do email. It must be skating season in hell."

Not only does the PlayBook lack a dedicated email client, there are also the glaring omissions of calendar and contacts apps.

Bloomberg reports that RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said criticism of the company’s PlayBook tablet computer "are misguided because they ignore RIM’s base of BlackBerry faithful."

"A lot of the people that want this want a secure and free extension of their BlackBerry," Balsillie told Bloomberg, adding that more than 60 million BlackBerry users can pair their phones and PlayBooks to read e-mail.

RIM shares, which are already down 7.2 percent this year, fell to $53.92 yesterday after the critical reviews.

Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis also defended his new product to Bloomberg, saying that the PlayBook will distinguish itself from the iPad and other worthy competitors through better technology, the same way it did with mobile phones. He cited the tablet's security features, which appeal to business customers. He also boasted about the PlayBook's smaller size, calling it "ultraportable".

"This is superior," he told Bloomberg. "It’s far more portable, it’s lighter in your hands, you can hold it for longer."

And while the spin-doctors try to control the damage, analysts don't expect any miracles from the device. "There’s no doubt the PlayBook has a lot of power," Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg told Bloomberg. "The question is whether those things will matter to consumers more than the things that the iPad can do, namely with its breadth and depth of applications."

Gartner estimates that the PlayBook could capture 10 percent of the tablet market by 2015, with 47 percent going to Apple's iPad.

For RIM, a lot rests on the success of its tablet offering. The PlayBook has been a long time coming with a lot of pressure resting on its shoulders. Failure could spell disaster for the Canadian company.

 



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RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By bd55555 on 4/15/2011 9:13:55 AM , Rating: 5
You betcha. What do you expect from a Company run by a guy who, when Apple introduced the iPhone, told the world he "had no concern" over Apple entering the space, despite the fact that RIM was shocked that the iPhone had capabilities RIM people felt certain could not be built into a mobile handheld device?

RIM's problem is that they never evolved past the so-called smart phone concept. While Apple has decades of experience as a convergence company, RIM still has its roots in the rotary dial age—a one trick pony getting long in the tooth. That's what the PlayBook proves.

Perhaps it would be more aptly named the "PrayBook?"

I wouldn't want to be long RIMM. Even if you were to replace senior management at RIM today, it's still a dead duck. It may take some time, but RIM is destined to be the next PALM.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 11:05:15 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
RIM's problem is that they never evolved past the so-called smart phone concept. While Apple has decades of experience as a convergence company, RIM still has its roots in the rotary dial age—a one trick pony getting long in the tooth. That's what the PlayBook proves.


Oh please. Apple stood on the shoulders of giants and did very little innovation. The iPhone was a hit because it was another hyped Apple device for rabbid fanboi's and the "me too" crowd.

Without RIM we wouldn't be sitting here today talking about smart phones.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By FATCamaro on 4/15/2011 1:28:40 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Oh please. Apple stood on the shoulders of giants and did very little innovation. The iPhone was a hit because it was another hyped Apple device for rabbid fanboi's and the "me too" crowd. Without RIM we wouldn't be sitting here today talking about smart phones.

The only people that use the word fanboi are fanboys. Did you see the Android prototypes pre-iphone? They all looked like blackberry's.

Anand gave the Playbook a great review because AT and DT have such a rabid anti-Apple faction in their readership.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Boze on 4/15/2011 2:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
This is the most emphatically untrue thing I've seen posted here in a long time.

Its no secret that the majority of AnandTech and DailyTech readers are technical users who expect to be able to do a certain amount of tinkering with their devices, but to suggest that Anand would bullshit a review because he's worried about his audience? Now that's a new low.

However... I have to disagree with the iPhone being a hit because it was a hyped Apple device. It was hyped, no doubt, but it was a success because it had the best mobile interface available. In 2003 I had a Motorola V300. It was a pretty good cell phone, and I was able to tinker with it a bit. I picked up a T-Mobile Dash 3 years later. It was pretty amazing, and I liked it more than anything else I'd used. Then I tried a T-Mobile Wing, and that was even better.

The iPhone was light years ahead of the Wing and any other smartphone out there. Sadly, I would argue that the iPhone 4 is still ahead of most other phones out there. The Galaxy S was probably the best competitor up until the iPhone 4, but until there's a phone with a better display, I'd argue its still #1. Just like, sadly, the iPad 2.

The reason you have the rabid anti-Apple contingent here on AnandTech and DailyTech is because Apple is the world's worst when it comes to closed systems, and there's nothing that technical users hate more than closed systems.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 4:02:51 PM , Rating: 3
iPhone and that stupid pad don't even support Flash. If you support a company that just decides to not support industry standards for no good reason, you're a spongehead.

Forget the fact that's about 60% of the content people use on a daily basis that isn't supported by their mobile devices. But it's an industry standard that Apple just decides they won't support. For whatever arbitrary reason, not even a technical one. Talk about closed systems!

So you're locked into a provider you might not even want, can't view Flash content, can't change the battery, and are locked into iTunes and the App Store...

No thank you.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Pirks on 4/15/2011 4:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
you're locked into a provider you might not even want, can't view Flash content, can't change the battery, and are locked into iTunes and the App Store
These points mean a lot to a geek but not much to an average mass consumer, hence the Apple's success


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 5:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
So only "geeks" research what they buy?


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By Pirks on 4/18/2011 9:37:15 AM , Rating: 2
nope


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By KoolAidMan1 on 4/15/2011 1:45:53 PM , Rating: 2
How quickly people forget what cell phones and smartphones were like before the iPhone.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By amanojaku on 4/15/2011 4:13:09 PM , Rating: 1
I've never used an iPhone, nor will I for the foreseeable future, but the two cellphone features I think the iPhone "innovated" were the large touchscreen and the App Store.

Most phones had an icon display, many were in color, and the touchscreen doesn't eliminate the need to push since you're still applying a (negligible) force. There's actually more work involved since it tends to get dirtier. The larger display adds movie support, but I really don't have a want or need for that. I agree that it follows the natural progression of the ever-shrinking display, but it's not revolutionary, new or different; such displays existed for years before the iPhone, just on other devices, and at similar or cheaper price points (Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, etc...)

The iPhone also added the App Store, but other phones had the capability to download and install modules, packages and apps, too. So the reality is people are praising the creation of a STOREFRONT, which has the sole purpose of taking your money, and making it convenient for you to part with it since you just have to visit the one site and search for what to buy. There is a similar feature for FireFox plug-ins, only it's free. I guess if Mozilla called it a "store" and took 30% people would have figured out how to make FireFox games or something... Lord knows some of these ad blockers are actually worth money.

But since you mentioned what the other phones were like BEFORE the iPhone...

1) Battery life was longer, like one or two charges a week
2) Phones weren't thinner, but they were shorter, and could fit in a pocket comfortably
3) Phones were cheaper, at $100-$200; $300-$400 was a LUXURY phone
4) Phones were more solid; drop a modern phone and the glass will shatter, or the battery cover won't fit
5) Call quality was better; the iPhone is a great multimedia device, but it's a sh1tty phone
6) Plans were more reasonably priced; there's less minutes and more fees every year (hello, data plan!)
7) Good phones made it to all carriers;except for the first RAZR, few common phones were exclusive to one carrier

The only thing that makes the iPhone special is that it's made by Apple. Had Bang and Olufsen made it people would criticize it as a toy for the rich. I'll stick with my BlackBerry. It doesn't do movies or large games, but it DOES function as a great business phone no matter were if go. My iPhone-toting partner tends to borrow my phone when she needs to talk to someone.


RE: Does this surprise anyone?
By noirsoft on 4/15/2011 8:46:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How quickly people forget what cell phones and smartphones were like before the iPhone.


Powerful? Useful? Actually "Smart"? Able to be operated with gloves on? The iPhone1 did less than my windows mobile 5 device that was two years old when the iPhone came out. It's only because of the hype and "ooh pretty colored icons!" that the iPhone grew enough to have even the App Store, multitasking, copy & paste, etc.


By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 12:05:57 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
How quickly people forget what cell phones and smartphones were like before the iPhone.


Yeah you could actually TALK to people on them :P


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