Stats: Powered by Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) new QNX operating system and a dual-core processor from Texas Instruments, the PlayBook represents the first steps in a major overhaul of RIM's aging BlackBerry platform--RIM has said it plans to move QNX onto its future smartphones. The 7-inch PlayBook will initially launch at around $500 for the Wi-Fi-only version; RIM promises to offer additional versions with cellular connections later this year.
Pros: Early reviews of the device have noted the PlayBook's smooth multitasking and overall elegance. The gadget, targeted initially at enterprise users, also features a number of security features--specifically, it won't store a users' email, calendar and contacts locally. The device can also run Adobe's Flash technology.
Cons: A number of reviews of the device have pointed to a range of omissions and concerns--many of which can be attributed to the fact the device is a 1.0 product, the first of its kind, and likely will be improved in the coming months and years.
Nonetheless reviewers said the PlayBook can't do video calling despite its dual cameras, can't handle native email functions, doesn't sport many apps, can't share pictures and it appears to suffer from memory management issues. In its correspondence with reviewers, RIM has said it plans to address all of these failings with future software updates.
Bottomline: "My initial thoughts were very negative on [the PlayBook]," Greengart said, noting specifically the device's initial inability to handle native email functions--RIM said it will update the device this year to support such functions, and in the meantime it is providing existing BlackBerry users a way to manage their email on the PlayBook via its BlackBerry Bridge application.
"It limits the market," Greengart said, explaining that the PlayBook, at least initially, will only really be useful to existing BlackBerry smartphone users.
"I am however starting to come around to the PlayBook. This is clearly a product that was designed for business users," Greengart said, adding that RIM's targeting of the enterprise channel "is a strong competitive move."
"It's not trying to beat Apple by being Apple," he concluded.