Mossberg Reviews RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook

Well, since there isn’t a big piece of fruit on the case, you can expect Walt to have a few digs on the BlackBerry PlayBook. Now that the full PlayBook facts are coming out, holes are forming in the BlackBerry story.

Missing email, contacts, and calendar apps–3 of the big four PIM apps, unless you have a bluetooth connected BlackBerry smartphone, is an absolute death nail for anyone not packing a Torch or other RIM phone.

RIM’s focus on their “enterprise” customers and security shows just how clueless they are when it comes to “consumer” electronics. Unfortunately, I don’t see this device driving new BlackBerry phone sales to get those missing features. And by saying they’re coming soon, RIM is just saying, “hey all you non-BlackBerry people, just wait until we deliver the features, then you can buy a PlayBook.”

Cool that Flash is supported so well. But now that millions of iPhones and iPads are browsing pages without it, maybe Flash isn’t that big a selling point. I’m kinda torn on this one. However, after playing with a PlayBook at CES 2011, I can confirm that even a heavy use of Flash, including the Logitech Alert video security camera web viewing site ( worked well on the PlayBook.

And perhaps the one big issue that is today’s game changer: Apps. The lack of apps, and a very small market for the apps, makes the device feel like a niche player. It’s going to be hard for RIM to get people to do something new for what looks like a small number of users.

Finally, I can say that I really liked a lot of the UI. The animations, smoothness, app rending were all pretty nice. Interacting with text was a big challenge for me. In one case, I couldn’t figure out how to insert and edit text, and neither could the person helping behind the counter. In the end, she just “backspaced” over what I typed and said retype it. 🙁

Great attempt. Not ready for primetime yet.

PlayBook: A Tablet With a Case Of Codependency

April 13, 2011

by Walter S. Mossberg


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