First Reviews Don’t Look Good for the BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook is RIM’s answer to Apple’s iPad – a 7.6-inch tablet that boasts a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and two high-resolution cameras. It’s received bucket loads of hype since it was announced, with the tech world dying to get their hands on the device and establish whether it gives the iPad 2 anything to worry about. Well, the initial reviews are now in from some of the biggest names in tech, and it doesn’t look good for RIM’s PlayBook.

In short, most are saying that the PlayBook is a device which feels as though it has been rushed – like RIM were desperate to get it to market, and that as it stands the BlackBerry tablet isn’t worth your hard earned cash.

David Pogue of the New York Times said that the PlayBook’s software is buggy, and that it is missing simple, yet important features, such as the ability to view email attachments, or even open URL links within an email. These are features that have made iOS so useful since the day it launched on the iPhone, and you’d expect one of its rivals to include the same functionality.

Summing up his review, Pogue wrote:

The PlayBook, then, is convenient, fast and coherently designed. But in its current half-baked form, it seems almost silly to try to assess it, let alone buy it.

Remember, the primary competition is an iPad — the same price, but much thinner, much bigger screen and a library of 300,000 apps. In that light, does it make sense to buy a fledgling tablet with no built-in e-mail or calendar, no cellular connection, no videochat, Skype, no Notes app, no GPS app, no videochat, no Pandora radio and no Angry Birds?

Walt Mossberg of the New York Times also got his hands on the device, and – like Pogue – believes the device just isn’t ready for market yet. Though its cameras are better than those in the iPad 2:

The screen is beautiful, even though it has a lower resolution than the iPad’s. And the cameras are better than the iPad’s.

Still, unless you are constantly glued to a BlackBerry phone, or do all your email, contacts and calendar tasks via a browser, I recommend waiting on the PlayBook until more independently usable versions with the promised additions are available.

Wired believes that while the PlayBook’s hardware is solid, it’s the software that lets the device down:

It’s a well-constructed device with great media-viewing capabilities, solid hardware specs and a price on par with the current tablet market. But with serious gaps in key areas like app selection and Flash stability, you may want to think twice before picking one up.

There are plenty of other reviews online, from all of the big tech publications – and all seem to deliver the same message: while the PlayBook looks good, packs some decent hardware, and comes from a reputable manufacturer, its software just doesn’t cut it in today’s market. Until RIM go back to basics and give the PlayBook’s software a complete overhaul, it will never be an iPad killer, let alone compete with the top tablets.


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