Research in Motion on Wednesday said that its Blackberry Playbook tablet personal computer would be "competitively priced". But while affordable price will be an indisputable trump of the slate, its other limitations may seriously undermine adoption of the Playbook by broad audience.
"The [Blackberry Playbook] product will be very competitively priced. [It will cost] under $500,” said Jim Balsillie, co-chief executive officer of Research in Motion in an interview with Bloomberg news-agency.
BlackBerry PlayBook is based on a dual-core ARM microprocessor and features 1GB of memory, an unknown amount of flash storage, dual HD cameras (5MP rear facing and 3MB front facing), Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n (3G and 4G models to be available in the future), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, microHDMI as well as microUSB connectors and so on. The product fully supports MP3, full-HD video playback (1080p, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV) as well as WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java. The slate features 7" screen with 1024x600 resolution and weighs less than a pound (400g).
But while RIM BlackBerry PlayBook offers better specifications amid lower weight compared to Apple iPad (which has bigger 10" screen), everything is not that simple. First of all, RIM does not sell content, hence, customers will have to acquire it from other companies, which will hardly be a real problem as companies like Amazon or Barns & Noble will likely offer both e-book and multimedia applications for the device. Secondly, at least initially the PlayBook will rely strictly on BlackBerry smartphones as initial version does not support WWAN of any kind. Thirdly, it will only become available in Q1 2011 and by that time competing products may offer even better functionality. In fourth, at least initially there will be few applications for BlackBerry slate compared to tablets based on Google Android or iPhone OS. All in all, while RIM BlackBerry PlayBook seems to be a very advanced device now, its actual market success will be determined by the quality of competing tablets (that will naturally not require a BlackBerry phone).