Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PlayBook Will Die By iPad's Sword...

This post was based on an article I read at the Huffington Post.  It has a 10 slide layout explaining things about the new RIM PlayBook.

These quotes are all from the Huffington Post Article.  We will comment on each one by one.

This makes perfect sense since Blackberry comparatively has none.  Latest statistics are Apple has 200,000 apps, Android 50,000 apps and Blackberry about 6,000 apps.  So they better not focus on apps.  Now there is something very interesting about apps.  When the iPhone first came out, Steve Jobs did not put much of an emphasis on apps either.  At first he simply pointed people towards "web apps."  They still exist but they are not anywhere near as popular.  They were all web based and could not run within the phone.  In reality this is the future of all machines like Google has stated with its Chrome OS.  But Mini-Safari which runs on both iOS 4 is not a full fledged browser with plugins.  So the web apps were a very poor experience.  We do not know anyone who is running these anymore.

But RIM's statement is deceptive.  The reason they do not focus on apps besides the obvious one (that comparatively they do not exist for the Blackberry) is that they are touting this device as a fully powered computer.  But computer have hundreds of apps.  They are called programs!  So this is a semantic marketing ploy.

RIM also fails to realize something very vital that is happening in the market.  People who would never use a computer except for email have been buying iPads.  Why?  Because they do not perceive it as a computer!  They view is as easy to use.  The operating system is hidden away you deal with the apps is all.

This is a nice feature.  The cameras are for voice conferencing.  And we all know how famous Blackberry is when it comes to voice conferencing yes?  I mean we see everyone on a Blackberry doing it.  We will see how adopted it is.  Even Apple is going to have trouble with FacTime once Facebook gets Skype fully integrated into their upcoming (and denied) phone.  I suspect the reason Apple did not put two cameras on their iPad is that they would have it on the iPhone 4 and it would not be needed.  They viewed the iPad as directed towards a different market.  Either way, once Apple adds the two cameras to the iPad this big declaration by RIM will be of little impact.

This is again deceptive.  This mighty PlayBook with its mighty Dual Core Processor DOES have a Wi-Fi connection but it cannot connect to a cellular network directly.  It does it through Bluetooth.  Anyone who knows about Bluetooth, knows that it is SLOW.  It was never designed for web browsing it was designed for simple close range networks with relatively little bandwidth.
Wi-Fi data rates are now reaching into the hundreds of megabits per second. The fastest Bluetooth data rate applications max out around three megabits per second. The best way to separate these is to think of Bluetooth as a low speed connection for applications using voice and audio or other applications where speed is not needed or important. Such applications could include the transfer of data (like from a camera to a pc or to a printer) or synchronization of two devices (such as address book updates between a pc database and mobile phone's contact list). Wi-Fi is designed for moving large amounts of data in a short amount of time. ****
So this mighty processor in the PlayBook will be sitting around tapping its fingers waiting for Bluetooth.  They could have made the connection through Wi-Fi but that would be too much work I suppose.  Bluetooth was the easy way out of the problem.  When LTE comes out with all the cellphone carriers it will be really make apparent how slow Bluetooth is for web browsing.

This statement is accurate.  Yet what it is not stating is that there is more than one definition of multitasking.  Most people do not need or want true multitasking.  They are not looking to run two heavy applications at the same time with one working feverishly in the background.  The typical use of full multitasking is the for rendering large graphic files that run in the background while the user is doing other things.  But for these heavy applications no one is going to use a RIM PlayBook!.  They would use a quad core processor computer at least.  So this extra power is wasted on such a device as the PlayBook.  The average user simply wants to switch instantly between open applications and resume where they left off in it.  They also want to be able to receive email ad alerts or different kinds while they are in an application.  They might want to listen to music while they are doing something else.  This is NOT heavy-duty, full-throttle multitasking.

Wow!  Imagine that!  How many Blackberry owners have you met, or , perhaps you are on of them who say I would love to have an iPhone or an Android phone but my business requires I use a Blackberry.  We do not know why you would want to see ANY apps on the Blackberry on a not much larger 7"screen.  The apps on the Blackberry are not intense in graphics anyway and the bigger screen would simply display the weakness of the design by making the graphics look more pixelated and blurry.  We suppose the biggest reason is to tether it to the Blackberry for web access outside of a Wi-Fi network.  This is a ho-hum feature in our opinion.

This is good we suppose, but the only drawback will be how the user experience of using your fingers in gestures will differ in a 7"screen as opposed to the 9.7"screen of the iPad.  It might be ok.

Flash is at best a necessary evil.  How many times has your browser slowed down, had a script error warning or crashed because of Flash?

We are curious.  Either way, despite Flash's dominance in the video market it is still run by a company (Adobe) that is slow in upgrades.  Is it wise to base the world's video content on one company's updates?  Should there not be VIABLE alternatives to it?  But the PlayBook does support HTML5 also.  That is good.

There is one more missing thing about this PlayBook that the article did not say and neither has Blackberry been speaking about much - THE BATTERY LIFE.  We suspect with these full-blown features it will last no longer than the average laptop.

The last thing that is mentioned is its operating system, QNX.  QNX is a Unix-based system which runs on a microkernel.  There is a god coverage of this OS here.  A microkernel based OS as opposed to a kernel based OS means that each feature of the OS runs in it's own separate area called a server.  This allows the system to continue running if one app crashes. without rebooting your PlayBook.  It also allows the running app to get most of the processing power while it is active.  We are not sure how this enhances the multitasking capabilities of it without slowing down the apps in the background.  QNX OS is used in many machines in different industries from cisco servers to gaming casino machines.  Supposedly it will "run" all of the currently existing Blackberry apps.  We shall see what "runs" means.

It will be out in early 2011.  That means that RIM will give Apple the floor alone for XMAS.  This in our opinion will be devastating for RIM, considering how many iPads have been sold already!  There is, in our opinion, one basic reason why RIM has not rushed this device to market before XMAS.  That reason is because, despite statements to the contrary, they do not really care about the consumer market.  They really want the corporate market and this market does not go by shopping seasons.  Here is the market they are hoping to clinch:
IDC predicts that the corporate market for tablet computers will grow as a portion of overall sales over the next few years. The firm forecasts that roughly 11 percent of overall tablet shipments, or 6.5 million units, will be to businesses, government agencies or schools by 2014. That would be up from just 2 percent, or 300,000 units, this year. And that figure doesn't count those who buy tablet computers on their own and use them for work. ****
 We will see how the iPAD does in that market.  We think that the iPAD will crush the PlayBook in sales and impact.  In a near to come, future post, we will review all the upcoming tablets.  Stay tuned.

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