If you have hung around with us at any trade shows in the last year you probably would have heard one of us, at some point, as “Where is BlackBerry?”
Ever since the iPhone started to eat into the smartphone space like one my famished coffee-bean-headed farm zombies we kept waiting for RIM to respond and as months turned into years we started to think they’d lost it. “it” being both the HUGE advantage they had worked hard to gain with the brilliance of the click-wheel and also their collective minds. By January this year I had crossed my confidence tipping point and figured BlackBerry for the walking dead – still shambling about but done nonetheless.
Then at GDC I got a very pleasant surprise – the soon-to-be-released BlackBerry Playbook.
To cut right to it, the PlayBook is the first (and only) tablet we’ve laid our hands on that actually feels ready to compete with the iPad. One other, the WeTab, that we first saw at IDF last summer was close, but not quite there. So to that end, I think we can assume that RIM was spending the last many months making sure they had a response that wasn’t just a MeToo but a solid, ready to ship answer to the iOS hit parade. At GDC the device played well, had some great new UI innovations and, wonder of wonders, they actually let us touch the thing instead of hiding behind lucite.
We were especially excited to learn that the PlayBook will support the Adobe Air runtime right out of the chutes and it looks like it will also support Android and Unity apps. What’s more – and what6 pushed us over the edge – anybody who submits an app to the store before March 31 gets a free PlayBook. [Memo to self: make that happen with G and F. Now would be a good time.]
So we’re jumping in, we encourage you to jump in. We really want to encourage RIM – god on’ya for creating what appears to be a great product.
Now…bring the customers to your app store and you’ll be the belle of the ball once again.
John – I think all of those concerns are valid and while I really enjoyed the device and the people presenting it at GDC…that’s a long way from the kind of commitment you’re looking for. Only time will tell if they follow-through OR if they are simply too late to the game regardless of their product.
That said, I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole thing. Will it rival iPad? I doubt it will anytime soon. Will it be another viable platform to sell games? I suspect it will.
I’m excited about the possibilities that the PlayBook represents, but I’m honestly uncertain about their chances for success. Yes, they seem to be the most well thought-out response to the iPad, but it also seems to be more of a “if we have to make a tablet, let’s do it right” mentality. I don’t get the same sense of passion for the space from Blackberry that I get from Apple or Google. Maybe this is simply because I haven’t gotten a hands-on experience with it, or interacted with the people behind it. The marketing, while well done, just doesn’t impress upon me a passion for the device.