Wondering how the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook stacks up against the Apple iPad? While we’re probably going to have to wait until the tablet is officially released before we get complete and unbiased third party comparisons, the folks at Research in Motion have put together a video that compares the web browsing experience on the two tablets.

It’s not surprising that the PlayBook comes out ahead, since the video was produced by RIM and likely favors content where the PlayBook excels. But the iPad has also been out for a few months while the PlayBook which isn’t available yet features next-generation technology including a dual core ARM-based processor.

That said, the video shows the PlayBook loading standard web pages more quickly than the iPad, as well as displaying Flash video while the iPad simply shows an error message.

Of course, the PlayBook takes it time loading Flash content… you’ll get a much better experience using a desktop web browser. But at least you have the option on the PlayBook.

The PlayBook browser also gets a perfect 100 score on the Acid3 web standards test, and has no rendering artifacts.It does well on JavaScript and HTML5 tests as well.

The video also shows off the on-screen keyboard for the PlayBook, which looks a lot better on a 7 inch display than the standard Android browser when scaled up to larger devices — although touch-typing is probably still easier on the iPad with its larger 10 inch screen.

You can check out the comparison video after the break.

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9 replies on “BlackBerry PlayBook, iPad web browser compared”

  1. I see little more than RIM’s desperate action to hold people over the holiday shopping season, which they are missing as we speak.

    1. As I mentioned in my reply to jdpruett below, the iPad has been out for less than a year. There are fewer iPads in people’s homes than iPod Touches and iPhones–and that will remain so for a while to come. Sales have been strong but nothing that can’t be overcome or outstripped by other companies if the price is right. There are a lot of people who are waiting for the other shoe (namely the competition) to drop with some less expensive and more flexible options.

      Missing this holiday season is not that big a deal–especially in this of all years when the economy is still so bad and is just beginning to show signs of life again. That’s just one of the reasons that some companies are waiting it out until they have a really good device and polished software platform before they take on the competition.

      Price for functionality will also be a deciding factor as we’ve seen in most other technological retail markets (like the desktop and laptop PC markets) in the months and years to come. As long as Apple continues to make only products that they feel they can charge a premium for, they will forever be a niche product producer. The iPod is an inexpensive enough device to make it into a large number people’s homes and the iPhone can be purchased on contract from a wireless carrier, making it a fairly affordable device as well. Once you cross that threshold of $300 to $500, people start to make much more discriminating and conservative decisions about spending. The iPad currently costs even more than the upper range. If it had been a $250 to $300 product–and had been able to keep up with the demand that would undoubtedly have been generated at that price–they might very well have had an unstoppable, runaway product on their hands that would barely need to try so hard to convince people that they need one. It also would have been harder for other companies to jump into a market for a product which they know only costs about $100 or so to make but they also know they can charge $300 to $500+ for to put into the consumers’ hot little hands. Sometimes it’s a good idea to just sit back and watch for a while… 😉

  2. Time the loading of the pocketful-of-canvas demo page … as you see the playbook took 4 seconds (at around 2.26 in the video) and the ipad took 1.5 seconds (at around 2.29 in the video). Of course they didn’t show that happening side by side as that would have shown the ipad to be faster!!

    Yes the playbook has some better elements but as all ipad users know that is hardly relevant when the ipad experience is good.

    1. Your comments are weird.

      The iPad experience is not good. It’s bad because of the limitations. What it does within those limitations is good, but the incompleteness and inadequacy of the experience makes it impossible for the good pieces to accumulate into a good whole. It’s like having a severed foot as a best friend. It doesn’t matter how nice that foot is or how much you like it, it’s not a person and thus not a good person.

      Moreover, you’re preempting the exact same logic (out of turn) that iPad fans refute (erroneously) in discussion of Windows 7 tablets. The fact of the matter is that you can still be good without having to be AS GOOD as another device. It’s OK to be bested. That doesn’t mean that you’re bad. Windows 7 tablets provide a good experience across the board despite being bested in a few areas by devices that can do nothing else. The difference of course is that it can do more. That’s the same situation that the iPad is in here. It’s the PlayBook the benefits from your argument. It can do many things better than the iPad. It’s bested in some ways by the iPad. However, in both cases it remains good a good device, the differentiating factor being that it can do more.

      1. The iPad experience is not good. It’s bad because of the limitations….Windows 7 tablets provide a good experience across the board despite being bested in a few areas by devices that can do nothing else.—Interesting ideas, but you do realize how much in the minority your opinions are, right? Microsoft had nearly 10 years to build a tablet experience that appealed to people, and they largely have failed. It remains little more than netbook sans keyboard.

        1. Where they really failed was in not building a small and thin enough portable device. Apple made their move at the right place and time in the recent history of mobile processor technology when such tiny and low powered computing devices were powerful enough to provide a rich experience to the user in a thin and light form factor–with long battery life as well. If the smartphone had not evolved to this point, the iPad would not exist today.

          Apple is not Microsoft. MS was still so mired in the desktop and server world (where they still absolutely dominate by the way) that their mobile phone OS was slow to evolve and keep up with current technology in the last 5 years or so. Apple was thin and light enough (pun intended) that they saw the potential and were able to pounce on it fairly quickly because they are a hardware company even more than a software company. MS is not primarily into designing their own hardware. It took a hungry hardware company (who can also write good, mobile software) like Apple to lead the way in this space. Remember when the Apple II and IIe were such dominant devices in the desktop world? I do

          Companies like IBM, Intel and Microsoft have taken the long view on things even more so than Apple has historically. Now there are even more big players like Google, Nokia and RIM. Now that the other manufacturers and software companies have caught on and are catching up, however, let’s see where the chips begin to fall. People forget that the iPad has only been on the market for less than a year. It is pure fantasy to believe that they will hold such a dominant lock on this space for long once the other players really begin to move.

    2. Load times aren’t consistent all the time for any device. Latency in network, response time from the server, whether the browser has to clear it’s cache, how efficient the browser is, etc all factor. So you can’t make a conclusion from a single example.

      There are times the iPad will be extra slow too. Like for reloading a previously visited site, iPad’s don’t cache sites. So each time will be like the first.

      The iPad also can’t handle Flash. So the Playbook demo is even more impressive because it’s dealing with far more than the iPad is dealing with. Anyone who has tried Flash on a Android system knows it can significantly slow the browser down.

      So the actual tests show that the Playbook can handle more than the iPad and that can give it a better overall experience potential than the iPad can offer and that’s pretty impressive for the price point they’ve set.

    1. It is. The current version of the iOS firmware on the iPad is really horrible. Memory leaks and all those stuffs.

      iOS 4.2 is much better. It’s like night and day. I’d love to see this test repeated on iOS 4.2.

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