Since it was unveiled earlier this week the tech world has been awash with speculation over whether or not Research in Motion’s (RIM) new tablet device, the Playbook, will be able to dethrone the iPad as the world’s most popular tablet computing device. In fact, I can’t seem to click on any tech site without seeing it discussed ad nauseam, which really bothers me, because I think RIM has done a great job of designing a tablet device that won’t needto compete with the iPad at all.
In these past few months following its own release, the iPad has been marketed as one thing and one thing only, a consumer computing device. All one needs to do is watch an iPad TV commercial to realize that Apple is not really selling a tablet device at all; it’s selling an experience, a feeling, and a lifestyle.
It is for this reason, I think, that RIM’s new Playbook will see a great deal of success, it doesn’t have to worry about the iPad at all. RIM is not selling an experience, not selling a lifestyle, not selling an image, its selling productivity plain and simple. RIM is producing a tablet device that will help you streamline your business needs, your communication needs, and help you make that bit of extra cash to purchase things like…oh I don’t know, maybe an iPad.
Over the past few months people have really learned what the iPad is capable of, and what they’ve found is that while the iPad is not just a novelty piece of tech there are some things it does well and some things it doesn’t do well. Just take my own experiences, asI found the iPad to be both innovative and intuitive, but still struggled to create a simple blog on it.
It is here that I would guess the Playbook will shine through, offering consumers a no frills user experience, the same user experience that made the Blackberry the world’s most popular mobile device. But beyond not having to worry about Apple’s iPad, tech pundits fear RIM may be the author of its own demise.
You see, in today’s world of mobile devices the application is king, with a very high percentage of smartphone users actively using their device’s mobile applications. The problem for RIM is that it is lagging significantly behind Apple and Android when it comes to mobile apps, meaning for some, that RIM’s Playbook just won’t be any fun.
But here’s the thing folks, it’s not made to be fun. That isn’t to say that people won’t enjoy using their Playbook, as initial video that I’ve seen shows a very capable computing device—not to mention, a device that runs Flash—that will provide many of the same personal functionality features that the iPad provides, but that’s not what it’s made for. I fully expect RIM to appeal to app developers to begin producing business oriented apps that people can really use, not just ones that people use when they’re bored.
In the end, with RIM’s Playbook set to avoid a head-to-head battle with Apple’s iPad, with the company attracting app developers with its business oriented customer base, and with a mobile strategy set to utilize the existing popularity of the Blackberry, I have every reason to think that RIM’s Playbook will excel in the market…unless Cisco and Avaya have something to say about it I guess.