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RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis (left) shows off the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.  (Source:
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 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.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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