Actually, that headline is somewhat incorrect. I was already sold on the Playbook when I saw demonstrations of the device at the Mobile World Congress back in February 2012. On full display at this event, it was hard to avoid it given Blackberry had one of the largest event displays at the conference.
Since purchasing the device, I have found myself using the Playbook far more often than my iPad (Gen 1) in many areas. I just find the tablet far more portable and far more useful than the badly built Kindle Keyboard that died a mere week out of warranty. Even more surprising is how well built the Playbook really is. This is some solid-state technology at its best! Nothing feels like garbage and it simply can’t compare to some of the crappy Android “tablets” out on the market.
Market perception that the Playbook isn’t a “premium” device is short-sighted thanks to biased media and simplistic assumptions of what makes a device good - sure, apps are far more bountiful through Apple’s AppStore, Google Play or Amazon AppStore. But, more doesn’t mean better. Every ecosystem has its weaknesses — this includes Apple, Android and Microsoft.
Which brings me to this point. If we ignore the tribal chatter of “my computer is better than yours” (nothing has changed since the Apple IIe vs. Commodore 64 days sadly :-)), and you focus on the really important stuff, the Playbook really stands out. I actually prefer the Playbook OS 2.0 experience to Android. Further, I believe there’s more than enough room globally to support a third and fourth ecosystem. I could be wrong but I don’t see people complaining about Windows Phone or even the Playbook OS (minus the absence of a similar O/S experience on BB devices - it’s coming!). Even after doing some basic tests of Windows Phone 7 on my mom’s Nokia handset, I found it to be a likeable OS and U/X experience.
Also, the actual motion within Playbook 2.0 is “so fluid” (the scrolling), it’s simply beautiful. When I would draw comparisons between iOS and Android, it was easy for me to suggest that this simple “feature” was better on iOS. Now, when I compare Playbook 2.0 and iOS, I can almost say without a doubt, the Playbook 2.0 O/S is visually more appealing than iOS. Hands down. It’s that good.
Playbook’s app ecosystem is growing. I found a good bounty of “anchor brand” apps to keep the restless user happy. I spent a bit of time over the weekend rewarding good app developers with actual purchases in several categories ranging from games, to productivity, to content-specific apps. There’s even a large assortment of mid-tier apps made by smaller developers that does a great job in keeping the ecosystem vibrant. In fact, it’s this part of the ecosystem which reminds me of the old days when Apple’s MacOS (before Steve Jobs 2) had more quality “shareware” than a lot of the crappy “commercial” software found on the WinTel platform. The mid-tier developer community really kept Apple alive during the lean, dark and difficult years.
It is unfortunate that folks like Netflix have opted to NOT support the Playbook. My view on that is simple. It’s politically motivated. Especially, when you consider how deeply embedded Netflix is within Apple’s ecosystem since the TV “app” is included with the AppleTV out of box. It’s sad that they feel they need to play that game because the Playbook’s capability cannot be questioned. The video playback is amazing and so is the speed. To be fair, both the Playbook and iPad don’t choke on their own own O/S but of late, with each new iOS upgrade, I have noticed the iPad stuttering to keep up which is probably an indication that I need to do a full, clean iOS install or the chip itself is at the heart of that issue.
There’s no doubt that BB10 (and yes, I BB10Believe) will be a strongly co-ordinated launch to release powerful touch-based and qwerty-based consumer/enterprise devices with a huge bounty of apps. I do believe the new devices will surprise the skeptical media if they’re honest to themselves about balanced reporting.
I am ashamed that a lot of the Canadian media properties have had to be coerced into supporting the Playbook even as the tablet ranks second to the iPad in the Canadian market. Yes, some of this was due to heavy price cutting but that’s beside the point. I’d think differently (ha ha) if the tablet itself was of sub-standard quality. I would say the same if the O/S was terrible. But the Playbook has an amazing O/S and it is solidly built!
Hey, this is the way I see it. If leading media properties like the Economist and the Globe and Mail can put their efforts forward to create a quality Playbook app, surely they must know something the other media properties don’t. I am actually quite impressed by the Techvibes Playbook app which was designed/built by Polar Mobile. Functional, slick and fun to use. So what are the rest of you waiting for?
- New BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 Update Now Available: 3 Reasons to Download (blogs.blackberry.com)
- Unlike Samsung, RIM can claim originality (bbgeeks.com)
- Porting your iOS game to Blackberry Playbook (and future BB10 phones) (altdevblogaday.com)
- Blackberry Playbook to be used in trial program by UK police forces (ubergizmo.com)
- BlackBerry 10 needs more than Flow for RIM to swim (zdnet.com)