Research in Motion doesn’t expect to ship the new BlackBerry PlayBook 7 inch tablet until early next year, but the company had a few demo units to show off at the BlackBerry Developer Conference yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately they were locked away behind glass, so while a number of bloggers got to check them out in person, it was strictly a look-but-don’t-touch affair.

Still, here’s a bit of what we learned:

There are still a lot of things we don’t know, such as how responsive the touchscreen is or how the touch user interface works, because we haven’t actually seen anyone touch the tablet yet. But it could be a few months before we have answers to those questions.

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3 replies on “Closer look at the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet”

  1. I know this isn’t explicitly” on topic, but because you’re covering the coverage of the PlayBook, I thought I might comment about the coverage too.

    I’m disappointed that even some of the bloggers who I feel like I and the general tech consuming public can trust are starting to drop the ball on a lot of this touch screen slate coverage.

    Not only are we calling these things “tablets”, but we’re calling video taken through a display case a “hands on”. I guess “tablet” and “hands on” are better keywords for driving in blog traffic than a title like “demo unit of touch screen slate in unknown state of completion and readiness stared at through protective transparent display case at a promotional event”.

    Of course, I believe I read in AP news coverage the exact statement “tablets — touchscreen devices larger than a smartphone and smaller than a laptop”. It makes me wonder what exactly I’ve been using for 100 hours per week for the last 5 years. I guess they’re not a tablets; I should demand refunds. It’s amazing that a journalistic aside meant to “educate” the uninformed reader managed to commit three HUGE errors in such a small space. I guess this could be overlooked if the “journalist” was struggling to explain some finer detail like what capacitive touch or QNX is, but it was a statement about the very nature and category of the device. It would be like calling the Audi R8 a “motorcycle”, and then explaining that “a motorcycle is a vehicle with four wheels that’s bigger than a bike but smaller than a car”. Would that really pass for automotive coverage, even in the most general part of a newspaper? Of course, the exact same “story” kept trying to bring up the iPad and repeatedly asserted that the two devices were “competitors” without even identifying the markets that both were intended to appeal to or analyzing if there was, in fact, even any overlap. How unlike the “media” to keep yammering about Apple out of context (keep reading), and I assume by “competitor” that writer meant that the PlayBook is a competitor to the iPad in terms of coverage he’s going to give it.

    I just can’t tell anymore if it’s the ignorance of the consumer which is driving the ignorance of the media, or the ignorance of the media driving the ignorance of the consumer. I’m sure it’s both. There’s even this recently released report that the “media” is obsessed with Apple and Google in terms of the amount coverage given and attitude with which it’s given. Rather than using this well needed look in the mirror to improve their journalistic approach, newspapers are now BOASTING about the bias as if it’s a triumph, saying things like “Guilty as charged” and firing off headlines like “Apple, Google: We love writing about them; you love reading about them”. The shocking thing is that Apple and Google are two of the biggest and least consumer friendly companies out there right now. Just like I’d have to question if giving a screaming, tantrum throwing kid only ice cream for dinner, because that’s what she wants, actually qualifies as “good parenting”, I have to question if this horrific pandering to and reinforcement of the ignorance of the consumer actually qualifies as “good journalism”.

    1. Right on! I think that good journalism as we used to know it is being lost in-favor of sensational, miss leading, self serving and otherwise questionable headline and story detail. I struggle to find the root of the cause, is it the teaching in journalism classes, do reporters as actually take journalism or is this just the next job after flipping burgers, does our reliance on instant information such as texting/Tweeter cause us to not put importance into accurate, correct details?
      I have responded to several stories posted on a local media website questioning the above various concerns, they posted my comments but I am unsure if they understood the jest of it!

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