The reviews are in for Research In Motion’s tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook.And the reviews are not good.
Almost every single review we’ve read says in short: Don’t buy it.
The reasons? It’s not fully baked. As Walt Mossberg put it, “I got the strong impression RIM is scrambling to get the product to market.”
If you’re going to use a PlayBook, you must have a BlackBerry. Otherwise you can’t get a native email application, or a native calender application. Those apps appear on the PlayBook screen through a bluetooth connection with a BlackBerry. Pretty neat trick, but ultimately it’s very limiting.
There’s a slim chance the Playbook is a hit with enterprise folks because it’s secure and designed to operate flawlessly with BlackBerry.
But, there’s a “consumerization” trend in the enterprise/IT world, where hot consumer products eventually get integrated into the enterprise. The iPad is the hot consumer product and it’s getting used more and more in the enterprise world.
Here’s the highlights from all the reviews:
- Walt Mossberg: 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.
- David Pogue: 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.
- Joshua Topolsky: But the PlayBook isn’t hitting home runs just yet. The OS is still buggy and somewhat touchy. Third-party apps are a desert right now, if not in number, then certainly in quality. The lack of native email and calendar support hurts. The worst part, however, is that I can’t think of a single reason to recommend this tablet over the iPad 2, or for that matter… the Xoom. And that’s what it really boils down to here; what is the compelling feature that will make buyers choose the PlayBook over something else? I don’t have that answer, but that’s not what’s troubling me — what troubles me is that I don’t think RIM has the answer either… and they should by now.
- Matt Buchanan: In a lot of ways, the PlayBook is more polished and usable in its beta state than the Motorola Xoom, and it’s straight-up the best seven-inch tablet out there (though in the tango between between portability and size, I think 10 inches is still the best). At the same time, I don’t think anyone should buy it right now—BlackBerry user or otherwise—for at least a few months, to see if the platform has enough legs to carry itself to where it needs to be. If the apps do arrive to fill in the gaps, then the PlayBook is totally going to be a tablet to check out. The foundation is solid—I can’t wait to see the first phones running this software—it just needs some stuff built on top of it before you can decide whether or not you should move in.
- Tim Stevens, Engadget: Right now, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a tablet that will come close to satisfying those users who gravitate toward the first word in its name: BlackBerry. Those who were more excited about the “play” part would be well advised to look elsewhere, at least until Android compatibility joins the party. Then, well, anything could happen.
- Rich Jaroslovsky, Bloomberg (with the most positive of them all): It’s impossible to say whether RIM’s bet-the-company strategy will pay off. Still, who would have thought that the maker of some of the world’s least exciting smartphones would have produced a product this slick? The PlayBook makes BlackBerry relevant again.
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