The BlackBerry PlayBook was the best-selling tablet at two major electronics chains in Canada last week. Both Future Shop and Best Buy Canada have tole Research in Motion that the 7 inch tablet outsold the competition… including Apple’s iPad 2 for the week.
Before you break out the champagne to toast RIM though, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, Apple is expected to unveil the iPad 3 in a few days. It’s likely that many potential iPad customers are waiting to see what Apple announces before making a purchase.
RIM has also been selling the PlayBook for more than 50-percent off the original list price. When the company introduced the tablet nearly a year ago, the cheapest model cost $499. Now you can pick one up for as little as $199.
At that price, it’s possible the company is even selling tablets for less than the cost of building them just to get them into more customers’ hands.
In other words, it’s possible that one of the main reasons the PlayBook snagged the top spot is because its customers for its biggest competitor are just waiting to make their purchase. And it’s also possible that RIM is selling a lot of tablets… but losing money in the process.
So… I can’t decide whether this is good news or not, but RIM is certainly using a lot of exclamation marks on Twitter to celebrate.
Of course, the launch of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 which added functionality to the tablet such as the ability to run some Android apps as well as native email, calendar, and contact apps might have helped.
I am new to the Blackberry platform and I should say the Playbook is one heck of a machine…. Excellent GUI’s. I think everyone is skeptic if RIM is going down with the Playbook. I am sure that its a marketing strategy for RIM. If you think of it, Playbook is the 1st tablet from RIM, does not have much apps, developers hesitant to develop apps for RIM. Its a check Mate for RIM with only 1 move which is to slash the price down and take the loss for a while and have the Playbook into the consumers hands. Its a good plan they have and I am sure with the way the playbook is built its in for a run, RIM is getting its pillars strong and this is just a start. With the OS 2 rolled out and more updates to come…. Playbook would be a strong contender.
It really boils down to simple math: the larger the user base, the more attractive the platform is to App developers and the more Apps that are developed for the platform the more attractive it is to users. So it is in RIM’s longterm interest to make it as accessible as possible to the purchasing public and I imagine they are being offered at pretty close to cost. You can imagine that anyone with a BB phone that is considering a tablet isn’t going to look much further then the Playbook; why should they, the hardware, UI and OS is as good as, if not better, then anything offered by Apple, or that has an Android OS and at a price that is well below the competition.
People like to yammer on about Apps, or lack thereof, but when I look at the Playbook’s tightly integrated Email, Calendar and Contacts applications I am greatly impressed; then I look for the same Apps in the iPads and Androids and they really are quite dismal compared to what RIM offers. What are Apple and Google going to do when BBM gets integrated into the Playbook? They’ll be hopelessly out-classed and there won’t be any easy solution that will catch them up to the infrastructure that RIM already has in place. The Playbook may have gotten off to a pretty shaky start, but if you consider the large infrastructure that is already in place, the extremely high quality of the product, the world class security (also already in place), it’s a pretty enviable starting position for anyone hoping to get into the tablet business. Now add to all this a new generation of smart phones that will work seamlessly with the Playbook and enjoy the security that has made RIM famous; it’ll be a hard combination to beat by anyone.
You could be right about the app part, if it wasn’t for RIM making their android compatibility layer. Developers are more likely to make an android app and then as a secondary thought see if it would work.
Of course those still on a blackberry will try the playbook out. That said though RIM’s marketshare has been a diminishing one so it’s not exactly something to hang a hat on, particularly with their bread and butter customers (businesses) are trialing/moving over to ios or android.
As for BBM, there is already Google Voice and I forget what Apple has but they have a native messenger too. While they don’t have the business integration as the BBM, tablets have yet to really find themselves a suitable role in businesses.
While iMessage is a poor copy of BBM, well maybe not that poor, the iOS track record for security is far behind that of the BlackBerry; to the point that the USAF has suspended a recent order of iPad sighting security concerns and both the German and Russian government are considering prohibiting there use, also over security concerns. While I’m not certain how Google Voice is anything like BBM, I do know that if I can’t trust a company to respect the privacy of my browsing habits, there’s no way I’ll give them access to my voice and email communications, but that’s my personal preference. There is one cardinal rule about software development: the bleeding edge of development is also the least secure, as all the bugs have yet to be fleshed out of the system by the rigorous field use of the end user. In the highly competitive arena of mobile communications where there is a constant one-upmanship taking place in an effort to gain market share, I have no doubt that security is falling by the wayside as companies rush their products out to the ever eager public. Just because a company claims their product is secure, doesn’t necessarily make it so. Where security is a concern, you’re better off taking the proven track record over the “glitz”, “glamour” and “hype” that is always part of the latest and greatest whiz bang gadget to be made available. And still Apple and Android have nothing to compare to the Playbook’s highly integrated and superb Email, Contacts and Calendar applications.
Both iOS and Android are starting to develop Enterprise level security measures that they never had before but these are just starting to really comes out and they’re also not baked in/integrated like they are for the Blackberry or for the Playbook into the OS.
Like even if you root a BB or PB it still leaves the locked boot loader to deal with, so it’s layer after layer of security.
However, not everyone is as concerned about security as much as keeping competitive, reducing internal costs, and keeping their employees happy. Meaning RIM can’t rely on their traditional customer base like they use to.
So RIM still has a uphill battle and needs to offer more than just security and good email service, with the growing importance of the consumer market and the need for more flexible solutions giving the advantage to iOS and Android based devices.
i wonder why…..499>199
RIM has a lot of set backs over the last year or so. The Playbook wasn’t well marketed, the Apps market was woefully underdeveloped and lacked growth potential, over emphasis on coupling the Playbook with a Blackberry for full functionality but still limiting features for security and enterprise like environments, etc.
OS 2.0 fixes pretty much all of the OS issues and support for at least some Android apps helps boost the number of available apps but it remains to be seen if they can attract enough developers to better develop their app market.
Though RIM is pushing hard for this with things like giving a free Playbook to developers and the apparently now permanent price drop to help clear stock and get more Playbooks into more people’s hands.
Thing is the Playbook is one of the best tablets around. It may no longer have the best specifications but it still is better than most at multi-tasking, can handle Flash better than most tablets, and the web browser is one of the best for mobile devices before Chrome came out.
Unfortunately, the general public doesn’t seem to have a high opinion of it and that’s one of the things RIM has to fight and hopefully turn around in time for the release of the next Playbook with updated specs and possibly more than one size option.
I didn’t know Canadians would rally together and support their phone/tablet company since I doubt the Playback took the top spot last week in the US :).
Like Brad suggested, the $300 price drop probably had a lot to do with it. Also the 2.0 OS update eliminated most of the original complaints.
Some may even prefer the Playbook to the Amazon Kindle Fire… Features like the HDMI out for example lets people take better advantage of Amazon Prime Instant Video service and output to a TV instead of being stuck with a 7″ screen all the time.
People are also figuring ways to side load apps that aren’t available on the BB PB market yet and once they figure out how to root the latest OS 2.0 then they can get a lot more out of them.
Amazon Instant isn’t available on any mobile platform other than the Fire… unless there’s a way to load Amazon’s Android build or the app itself on the Playbook? Hm.
The browser on the Playbook fully supports Flash. So unless it gets blocked, like Hulu does, then you can play anything that uses Flash and that includes Amazon’s Instant Videos.
I’ve already tried it on my dad’s Playbook with my Amazon Prime account and it works just fine.
Hulu use to be playable too but since RIM has no deal going with them and they classify the Playbook as a mobile device and Hulu charges for use on mobile devices is why they now block it.
Anything else using Flash though works really well with the Playbook browser and that’s how some are setting up their own personal streaming services to access their personal media collection from the Playbook.
As for apps, people are still experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t and you can check out most of that kind of information on the crackberry forums. There’s a growing list of what is known to work so far… though long term stability is still a question.
If RIM can get developers interested though then we should start seeing a lot more apps then.
Thanks for the clarification. Is it actually “watchable” or “usable” – the times I’ve tried heavy Flash sites on mobile devices, it’s been somewhat brutal. Hm! 🙂
Yes, both watchable and usable!
I’ve tried full 1080P Flash Youtube videos, a few Flash game sites, the aforementioned Amazon Prime, and other online streaming services. and have yet to have any issues besides things like the Hulu block but that isn’t the Playbook’s fault.
The browser bookmarking system could use some organizational features as it pretty much just lists them, though you can also choose to create desktop like links which you can then put into folders like any other app icon with the 2.0 OS, but otherwise it works a lot like a regular desktop browser.
So basically the web browser, multi-tasking, and the HDMI out are three of the Playbook’s strongest features.
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