Playbook reviews are in…
Nice try but probably not good enough…
Josh Topolsky (Late of Engadget)
But the PlayBook isn?t hitting home runs just yet. The OS is still buggy and somewhat touchy. Third-party apps are a desert right now, if not in number, then certainly in quality. The lack of native email and calendar support hurts. The worst part, however, is that I can?t think of a single reason to recommend this tablet over the iPad 2, or for that matter? the Xoom. And that?s what it really boils down to here; what is the compelling feature that will make buyers choose the PlayBook over something else? I don?t have that answer, but that?s not what?s troubling me ? what troubles me is that I don?t think RIM has the answer either? and they should by now.
There are other reasons for my hesitation. For one, unlike the iPad, which can run almost all of the 350,000 iPhone apps, the PlayBook can?t run any of the 27,000 BlackBerry apps. It will launch with only about 3,000 apps designed for tablets, compared with 65,000 tablet-optimized iPad apps.
RIM also plans to release this summer special players or emulators that will allow the PlayBook to run BlackBerry apps and even Android apps. But the latter, while numerous, will be apps designed for the smartphone versions of Android, not the newer tablet version. It?s too early to say how these apps will perform via the special player.
Still, unless you are constantly glued to a BlackBerry phone, or do all your email, contacts and calendar tasks via a browser, I recommend waiting on the PlayBook until more independently usable versions with the promised additions are available.
So that looks like Rim are making the same mistake the Xoom made - release something with the promise that it will be good… later on.
MG Siegler at Tech Crunch:
As a whole, I?d say that RIM?s first attempt at an entirely new product is a valiant effort. The problem they face is the same one that everyone in the space faces: Apple.
Is the PlayBook comparable to the iPad? No. Between the (lack of) app support and the wonky web browsing, there?s just no way around that fact. But RIM was smart to make the PlayBook a completely different form factor and give it BlackBerry Bridge to appeal to corporate users. So in that regard, there could be significant interest in this device.
So why not wait until there?s a little more polish to get it out there on the market? It?s a good question ? one that Motorola and Google should have asked themselves with the Xoom. But the fact of the matter is that we?re now in the full-on tablet wars. And the early players who can iterate quickly are perhaps the only ones that have any hope against Apple?s huge head start.
And RIM knows they have all those loyal BlackBerry users who will be very interested in the Bridge options. There?s a reason they?re calling this ?the world?s first professional-grade tablet.? It?s a smart play. Now it?s just a question of selling other people on the idea.
These are some rather telling words from Tim Stevens at Engadget:
Writing this review has been a lot like trying to hit a moving target thanks to a series of software updates that have been dropping every few days. The PlayBook of today is considerably better than the PlayBook of yesterday, which also was a big step forward from the one we were reviewing two days before that. This is both encouraging and worrying—encouraging that RIM is actively working to improve things, but worrying that things as critical as memory management are still being tweaked at the eleventh hour.
This means we’re not entirely sure what the PlayBook that goes on sale next week will look like. We thought we had “final” software on Sunday—and then we got another update. So, what we see at the moment is a framework with solid fundamentals but a framework that is, right now, unfinished. We have hardware that looks and feels great but isn’t being fully served by the software. And, ultimately, we have a tablet that’s trying really hard to please the enterprise set but, in doing so, seems to be alienating casual users who might just want a really great seven-inch tablet. Oh, and don’t forget that bummer of a power button.
BlackBerry PlayBook review: Too little, too soon
By Mark Spoonauer
It?s not really a matter of too little too late with the BlackBerry PlayBook. If anything RIM?s first tablet feels rushed to market. The PlayBook has a well-designed interface and plenty of power under the hood for serious multitasking. The sharp screen, high-quality cameras, and loud speakers all impress as well. However, the software was buggy during testing, there?s no video chat option yet, and App World just doesn?t have a lot of compelling options right now. Combine these issues with the need to tether a BlackBerry phone to get native mail, calendar, and BlackBerry Messenger, and it?s hard to recommend this tablet in its current form. Assuming RIM can work out the kinks and improve the app selection, we?ll warm up to the PlayBook more.
I wonder what the return rate on these has been.
I borrowed a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet during a trip to Orlando, Florida and attempted to use it for the typical things that I would normally do with a laptop computer while traveling.
The first failure occurred attempting to connect the PlayBook to the wireless network at a Holiday Inn Express, which requires visiting a Web page to enter a password and checking a box to accept terms and conditions. The browser on the PlayBook rendered the form properly and displayed the “you are connected” confirmation page, but every subsequent attempt to use Internet failed and/or landed the user back at the “please type in the network password” page. I had no difficulty connecting a $500 Lenovo laptop computer running Windows 7.
I tried reading Gmail from the Web browser on the PlayBook. The page is rendered in a layout that I’ve never seen before, either on a mobile phone or a desktop computer browser. I was unable either to delete or reply to messages. Buttons that said “delete” or “send” were presented, but then pressing those buttons did not result in any action or change in the screen content.
I searched for an application matching “skype” and got the same blank screen as when I’d searched for “gmail”.
Unable to communicate with anyone, it was time to try being a media consumer. Newspaper Web pages came up in a shrunken size with clunky jaggy fonts that were impossible to read…The result was less readable than the same page on a standard Android mobile phone (3.7” screen).
The touch interface requires training and practice. It is impossible to use the device, for example, simply by touching the backlit portion of the screen and the buttons on the side. The borders of the frame are also touch-sensitive and are required for basic operations, such as getting back to the home screen. The user swipes down, for example, to open a settings menu. If he or she swipes up, what happens? Nothing. The user is supposed to swipe down again to undo he or she just did. How it is intuitive to pull something down and have it move up, I’m not sure.
BTW, that last gesture used to open/close menus is stolen directly from WebOS.
Yeah, uh, I think the only thing that could drive sales is a possible name association…