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RIM: “Playbook Redefines What a Tablet Should Do.” What Is That Exactly?



RIM honcho Jim Balsillie in speaking on a recent earnings call says that “I think the Playbook redefines what a tablet should do.” He goes on to say that this is about better performance, Enterprise functionality (VPN, document viewing, and editing, etc…).

OK, all well and good. I’m not seeing the redefinition here, and I’d like to. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see RIM bust out of the gate with a Playbook that takes the world by storm that excites both the business and consumer market. And it just might. That said, I’m not just not sure any new Tablet or Slate is going to redefine what a tablet/slate should be.

There’s plenty of room for redefinition certainly, but I think where the new frontiers exist are more about users interact with their data and their computing needs than with changes within the form factor. What’s that you say? The form factor is set and there is no room for innovation? Well, not exactly, but for the current and next wave yes. Face it, when you’re trumpeting FLASH, cameras, ports, as the big differentiators, you’re still talking yesterday and not tomorrow.

I’m not down on RIM here, like I said I want them to succeed with the Playbook. But RIM and all of those about to unleash new Tablets on the world (or promises of new Tablets) at CES 2011 are going to be showing us versions of what we already know now. Do they really have a choice? I think that answer is partially yes and no as the market is still very much in flux and trying to define itself. RIM’s hope here is that its OS sets it apart from everyone else. That’s a big gamble and one that I hope pays off, but in just a few weeks it will be time to put these devices in the hands of someone other than RIM folk and let the real world find out RIM has a chance or not. Taking that further, if RIM isn’t ready by CES 2011 to put at least prototypes in the hands of journalists and bloggers, I wouldn’t count on a March 2011 launch they way some are speculating. In fact, heading into CES 2011, which is already being billed as the show about Tablets, I’d say that if you read about Tablets from any maker under glass, in company reps hands only, or just being hinted at, that you’re not looking at something that will be a real competitor in 2011.



  1. ChrisRS

    12/17/2010 at 4:44 pm

    To consumers and thus, all tablet manufactures, THE iPAD DEFINIES THE TABLET. The iPad is magical. What is does is what needs to be done. What it does not do, does not need to be done. End of report. (I wonder why there is talk of an iPad 2; WIll it be merely more magital and more perfect or truely most most majical and most perfct? Only Steve knows.)

    Of course, any company trying to compete with the iPad wants to, and needs to, Redefine the Tablet. Their product is not an iPad and by defineition not a tablet. Thus, the need for a new defintion.

    You, the GBMers and I (prosumers and enterprise) may not see it that way, but a large percentage of consumers and an even larger percentage of pundits and technical writers (reviewers???) do see it that way.

    Tablets and the tablet OSs reminde me of the early days of personal computers. There were LOTS OF COMPETEING OSs and apple and miscrosoft. Then there was APPLE and MICROSOFT and everyone else. Now there is MICROSOFT and Apple.

    In the Tablet world there is APPLE, everyone else, microsft (sort of) and rim (coming soon). It is early to tell, who the winners will be, but the current fragmentation is not sustainable. RIM just does not look like a competitor in the consumer market. RIMs real competition will Microsoft; both are currently also rans. I’m sure not going to bet on the outcome. Even Apple, Android, Microsoft, RIM seems like at least one too many.

  2. savagemike

    12/17/2010 at 4:52 pm

    Well, if you consider the world sees the current tablet as defined by the ipad then I think there is one big thing which would redefine it and a couple small things.
    Big thing = stylus of course. I want one that works equally well with stylus or finger(s). I’d be happy to have to flip a switch to make the choice.
    The other thing though is perhaps more about ‘today’ than ‘yesterday’ or ‘tomorrow’ and that is about built in ports.
    HDMI out is a must for these. Who cares that it has all this video capability on a table? I am not going to watch a movie on a 7″ or 10″ device. But I might well like to hook it up to a friends TV or hotel room TV to watch a movie.
    Things like that would go a long way with me anyway, if nobody else in the world.
    OH – and a nice IR transciever.
    I shouldn’t need a third party device to make the giant smart touch screen couch surfing device be able to work as a learning remote for jimminy-cricket’s sake.

    • savagemike

      12/17/2010 at 4:59 pm

      Just to add to the hdmi thing – it is not just about watching movies with friends or while traveling.
      I can see hotels providing nice 24″ monitors (maybe wall mounted behind protective glass) with an hdmi port exposed so I can just jack in with my tablet and sync a bluetooth mouse/keyboard (mine or from hotel) and have all the advantages of a full desktop system to get some work done.
      Or just surf the web or video chat with friends/colleagues or whatever.

      What I am saying, in summation, is that these little tablets should act as my portable personal lynch-pin in a modular world ready for me to plug into wherever I am – to gain the benefit of full size input/output use of a desktop.

  3. USB 3G

    03/12/2011 at 3:54 am

    this is exciting technology imformation. I like it. Thank you very much!

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