Adobe, the makers Flash have worked closely with RIM on the Playbook.Rendering of pages with Flash elements and even entire sites built with the popular software is far superior to what we’ve seen on Android tablets.The iPad of course doesn’t do Flash, making the Playbook which comes with the 10.1 version of Flash Player, the best tablet for desktop-like web browsing.
It was stunning to see the built-in Need for Speed running at full tilt while the camera recorded video and download continued in the podcast app.What’s more you can see all these things happen simultaneously in small windows as you scroll through the currently running programs/apps with a flick of the screen.The QNX operating system seems to be doing a fantastic job of getting the best out of the dual core 1GHz processor and the 1GB of RAM.
With full 1080p HD recording from both the 3MP front facing and 5MP rear facing one, it’s in a league of its own. A pair of external stereo speakers, 1080p output using micro HDMI port and beautiful video playback make it very un-blackberry like in the media department.
The Playbook allows file transfer over a wireless network after one-time installation of a driver via the micro-USB port on a Mac or PC.
Native Push Mail Missing
The device, till now had no standalone email, calendar or contacts client (though webmail could be accessed through apps/browser) which could be accessed without a blackberry handset tethered to the tablet. RIM announced an update which would add these features in the near future but it will deter non-blackberry phone users till they see it for real.
App Ecosystem Limited
While QNX is being touted as an “enterprise grade OS” which runs everything from power plants to submarines, developers will be hard pressed to find time for yet another platform. Announcing the first tablet-optimised facebook app and a new video chat app did little to convince that the platform was worth betting on for the long term.
No External Storage
Android tablets these days are coming out not only with SD card slots, but with full fledged USB support, both of which are missing in the Playbook.
The Other Factors
The Galaxy Tab from Samsung proved that there’s a big enough market for a 7in sized device, but with the iPad and Xoom in the 10in zone, the Playbook’s size is a gamble.
RIM previewed the upcoming ability of Android apps to be installed through Blackeberry’s app store, a move that could tide over the paucity of apps. However, the demo didn’t suggest that all apps would work exactly like they do on Android handsets and left a lot of question marks.
The Bridge Mode
The Playbook experience depends heavily on the user already owning a Blackberry device that can be paired to pass on its mobile internet connection, push email, BBM etc. While some may find this useful because it uses an existing data plan, others may not like the idea of needing two devices to do things that other tablets can do on their own.
If RIM prices this aggressively in India, it could take off in the way that its 8520 became a hit with the youth.