PlayBook Tablet Hits Stores, Receives Mixed Reviews

Dennis Faas's picture

Canadian firm Research in Motion (RIM) has finally released its much-hyped PlayBook tablet, a new rival to Apple's iPad. Critics, however, are unsure of Playbook's offerings.

The PlayBook boasts a number of features that are meant to set it apart from the pack. These include a proprietary operating system (OS) designed to maximize multitasking, and a touch screen navigation system.

Tethering Options a Double-Edged Sword

It's the PlayBook's many tethering options -- which connect the device seamlessly to RIM's BlackBerry -- that really distinguishes the tablet from those offered by competitors like Apple and Motorola.

The PlayBook has the ability to display emails, calendar updates, and other important details, and even send them to a nearby BlackBerry wirelessly. (Source:

Unfortunately for RIM, all of this interconnectivity with the BlackBerry represents something of a double-edged sword, especially considering that non-BlackBerry owners would not be able to take advantage of such features.

The PlayBook's also missing a native email application, making a dependence on the BlackBerry even more visible. RIM says such a feature is on-the-way.

PlayBook vs iPad2: No Pricing Advantage

All of this might have been a bit more stomach-able if the PlayBook was priced lower than its competition from Apple. But with the 16GB version going for $499, the 32GB for $599, and the monstrous 64GB at $699, it places the device on equal footing with the iPad 2. (Source:

Early reviews are not all positive. Analysts complain that RIM's application database for the device, called "App World," is too sparse when compared to similar offerings from Apple or Google.

As a result, expectations are that the PlayBook will put only a small dent in iPad sales in calendar 2011. Projections have RIM shipping two to four million units this year, compared to approximately 30 million units for the iPad. (Source:

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