PlayBook looks good but needs apps
Analyst reactions to RIM’s new PlayBook have been mostly positive, yet its slumping stock price probably best tells the story.
RIM’s share price fell more than 2% to 48.47 last night and it is trading at multiples of less than half of even Nokia, notes FT’s Lex.
But RBC analyst Mike Abramsky says the new tablet may be “cheaper [and] more productive than iPad for enterprises” because it offers no additional connection charges or licenses, All Things Digital reported.
Analyst Steven Li at Raymond James said the PlayBook showed RIM could compete effectively on hardware.
Ovum likes its market prospects, saying the device – unveiled early this week - looked a “strong contender” against the iPad. It argues Playbook’s big advantage is that many businesses already have BlackBerry smartphones deployed, and are using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server product to manage their connectivity.
“Enterprise IT managers understand the security and device management advantages that BlackBerry has over Apple, and RIM will maintain these advantages with the PlayBook, which is fully compatible with existing BlackBerry services.”
But the Apple Blog says RIM has been forced into the tablet market by the loss of corporate customers to the iPhone. “Since a tablet is definitely useful in a business setting, people are already buying iPads for enterprise purposes, basically because they don’t have a choice.”
Lex thinks the wilting share price, despite RIM’s recent bumper quarter, is a sign of a deeper malaise. “It is not clear whether the company’s ideal customer is an executive traveling to a meeting, or a teenager messaging friends and playing games.”
The other problem is that RIM is relying on a new software platform trying to win developers’ mindshare. An IDC-Appcelerator survey early this week notes that, long-term, developers are looking to Android.
Says IDC: “72% of developers say Android ‘is best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,’ compared to 25% for iOS. As a result, 59% of developers now favor Android's long-term outlook versus 35% for iOS. This gap has widened 10 points since a similar survey in June.”
PlayBook will play well in corporate IT departments, but users prefer apps.