BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet for Business [video]

By Bla1ze on 1 Mar 2011 02:41 pm EST

Ever since the announcement of the BlackBerry PlayBook, Research In Motion has been touting the fact that it is the first “Professional Grade Tablet" and that it was built with Enterprise environments in mind. However, thus far the majority of videos and demos given appear to have been focused on the consumer market. The above video, released towards redirects that focus back to the fact that the BlackBerry PlayBook was built for business and enterprise environments. Is Research In Motion going about this the right way or -- should they be more consumer focused with the BlackBerry PlayBook? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts, be it from a consumer or potential business user perspective.

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet for Business [video]


RIM have got their work cut out against Apple and Google, as well as HP entering the fray. Thus far they've had no choice but to push the consumer market because a 'business only' device will not stand up to the scrutiny and demands of what everyone would want out of a tablet.

I'm also guessing that the actual business application has come later in the development, rather then earlier.

They're doing their best - there's no doubt about it. I just hope that's enough to carve their niche in the tablet market.

Just a note, but at CES they defined "professional" grade not meaning it's a "business-user only" product - it was a reference to the build quality and components of the hardware. You look at most Android tablets releasing this year and everyone opted for the Tegra 2. Well, after playing with the Xoom and other tablets at CES the funny thing is that they all had performance issues, such as slow down under moderate use, which has also been pointed out in the recent Xoom reviews.

PlayBook opted for Texas Instruments and people were throwing everything at the PlayBook during CES, from videos playing in the background while half a dozen other apps, including OpenGL demos were running and could not get that thing to lag.

I think that's a pretty bold statement of what they mean by "professional grade". It's sort of like General Motors and they say "We are Professional Grade" but they also are referring to build quality and power.

The only dumb risky thing about the PlayBook in my opinion is the fact that you need a BlackBerry to access core features, such as Calendar, Contacts, etc. I'm not sure what "genious" thought of that, but that will be a huge turnoff for many people because I'm sure while RIM probably thinks this will make people buy a BlackBerry, in fact what will happen is that it will just make people buy another tablet.

Calendar and Contacts will only be an issue for non BES business users. Everyone else will either have a blackberry or are using gmail, windows live etc.

Having said that yes, it is still pretty dumb. RIM has said they plan on fixing that in the future though right?

Non-BES users are the majority of BlackBerry sales believe it or not though. The problem with this approach is that RIM is treating the PlayBook as an attachment to a BlackBerry (a large screen accessory) rather than a standalone tablet. This, of course, won't really be a problem if you have a BlackBerry (like myself), but it's a huge issue for those that don't and I just see them going with another tablet before they consider buying a BlackBerry.

Plus, even as a BlackBerry user, why do I want to have to Bluetooth tether my BlackBerry to my PlayBook just to use those features? What if I wanted the calendar on my tablet to be different or more importantly, NOT have to have my BlackBerry near me to use it? I just think this was a serious issue that could potentially be the reason this thing doesn't sell.

And yea, RIM gave a vague answer about "possibly" doing something about it, but when have we known RIM to do anything in a timely manner?

Of course most users are non-BES users and they won't have any trouble using their regular e-mail accounts. I'd be willing to bet that there will be half a dozen contacts/calendar apps available on release, probably one from RIM as well.

My stance on having to tether is that it's not a big deal at all. When will I (or really, anyone else for that matter) not have their phone on them anyways? I'll take the savings from not having a second data plan any day.

Keep in mind that the ability to tether your PlayBook to your BlackBerry to use it for data is a "carrier selected" feature, which I'm sure not only means that carriers have the ability to not even support it (possibly even block it), but also likely can charge for it. Given that most carriers now have a "tether plan" I doubt this will be free as RIM intends.

If your data use is abnormally high, they can see if you are watching flash video (for example). Obviously, you can't watch flash video on your BlackBerry. The only conclusion is that you are tethering against the TOS.

Be careful!

About that, Rogers is already promoting their Data Share plan. The ads deal with phone and tablet data mostly. I'm assuming Rogers won't be allowing "free" tethering.

The carrier cannot simply assume that because you use a lot of data that suddenly you bought a playbook which you are tethering to or frankly if you were tethering to anything including a laptop. That is like saying my wife was home late several times in the last month thus she must be cheating.

Blackberries they actually can tell if you are tethered but not with that tether-berry program. Anyhoo to test out I let my old bb stream radio pretty much constantly for a month to see how much data I could use on my Telus unlimited plan. This was on an old pearl with a tiny screen. Anyhoo I had the data up just under 100 times more than normal. I did a few more times randomly on road trips and had its up 50 or so times more than normal and my carrier never said anything.

Despite their intent of the usage "professional grade" the terms CIO, Business- driving, leading buiness applications, transforming the way people work, built for business.. does NOTHING to appeal to me. It's going to hurt them in the consumer space.

Sure they may sell a lot of PlayBooks to Bank Of America or whatever but it's going to suffer on the consumer side. But, given past history we all know business side is where RIM makes money anyway.

Disagree. I think there are ton of consumers out there like me that do not want this device for game playing. They want it to browse the web read some books and have the ability to edit and carry around documents. If this really is professional grade then I want it. To me professional grade means not a toy, not a cheap netbook. I think professional grade is a great label to have on a product.

Thisnk of a professional grade guitar you might not be in a band but if you care anything about music you'd want a professional grade guitar and not a hobby (i.e., cheap built) guitar.

it was announced in September 2010 and STILL not launched, Ipad2 will be launched tomorrow!! Geeez RIM, move the %$·$ up, Im not all hyped now for the playbook... dammit.

I got myself caught up in all the waiting frenzy, but about 2 weeks ago I said to myself just chill.... Accessories are coming out and RIM is releasing videos like this. It's coming. I'm actually glad the iPad 2 is coming out tomorrow, it'll give me a break from wondering if RIM will make an announcement. I'm now guessing march 31 will likely be the earliest announce date.

Man I so agree with you. I love blackberry but the Canadians are so laid back and slow. The CEO of RIM acts like RIM is the only player in the tablet market. Tired of the videos. Want release date too.

iPad2 is launched tomorrow for the same reason PlayBook was announced in September.

To attempt to delay corporate buying decisions.

Problem is the iPad2 will have to go some just to keep up with the PlayBook so the effect may be minimal.

I thought it was a pretty good move on RIM's part to announce it that long ago. It gave people time to digest it, get devs to develop for it and by the time it launches (hopefully soon) you'll have content available and not just a OS shell with browser that can for party tricks connect to your blackberry.

for those complaining about not having emails/calendar.

playbook has a web-browser right? you can access gmail from said web-browser right?

you can access your contacts through your email right?


well.. i guess it can be argued that you can't access those emails without wifi (for now), but... how often do you need to read old emails?

contacts, i have nothign to say. you need the wifi, but i'm sure someone out there is making "an app for that"

That's a lame excuse.. you have all these developers working on the PlayBook, and all these ways to build apps and you can't include an email client because why? It has a browser? you can access GMail that way.

Please... that's like saying no need to put brakes on a car since you have feet and can Fred Flintstone it.

No, it's more like, no need to put brakes on because the dealer is going to give you different options for brakes. Or, no need to put brakes on it because it already has them.

This strikes me as a rather odd thing to say. It's basically equivalent to saying why is google's gmail page so basic why don't they fancy it up with an app. Does anyone complain that the gmail interface is just too basic???? NO!

I think it's become so common to dump on RIM, even on these pages, that people get sucked into making senseless compalint's like this. [Sorry senseless is probably too harsh but you get my drift].

Does anyone sitting at a computer really say I don't want to get my mail through the computer I'd rather use a phone because I don't like google's gmail interface??

No need to pick sides. It's the "BlackBerry PlayBook", the BlackBerry tablet for business that you can play with when the business is done!

Used an IPad, Used several Android Tabs. I will hold judgment till I have used the Playbook for a couple of weeks. But so far Playbook looks like a good fit for me, but I have a BlackBerry and it is surgically attached.

There is no way this thing is going to be ready for Q1 (which means on shelves by 3/31/2011) unless there's an announcement, like, this week. And even then, we should've had a release date by now, and we should've had answers to all the questions about what this thing actually does as a STANDALONE device. No offense to the CrackBerry gang, but they WANT this thing to succeed so badly, they're glossing some of the obvious things we know nothing about.

I have faith in this operating system and the hardware sounds like it should be relatively future-proof. But they need to get the damn thing out soon, or they're going end up 1-2 years behind the market, where they always seem to be.

On a lighter note...did anyone realize right at the start of that how he swipes the screen to turn it on? Some people were wondering about the unlock/lock gesture for the device aside from the hardkey on top. Just an observation.

what lag? I've noticed a huge lag on the TAT apps but overall device doesn't seem to have ANY lag. On the other hand, it probably isn't as smooth as iOS.

A LOT of people are getting tired of waiting and they still are releasing it without at least a calendar APP.... email is another thing.. but a Calendar is fundamental to anyone and everyone... Professional or not.. BB user or not.. Everyone needs a calendar :) I understand they`ll be ``possibly`` getting one in a software Update but I personally think its something that should be there since the ``concept`` stage of the OS... just making a point here :D

I think RIM is playing this smart. They are keeping the public informed of progress, making their tablet android app friendly to fill the consumer market for mobile apps, while being able to provide a more secure operating system for the business side to develop their own business applications.
This will be the first RIM product that I will go out opening day or pre-order.

I'm tired of these videos. I wanted to buy the playbook after the first video I saw. Just give us a release date already, it's getting ridiculous.

They may just release it on the 31st of March and say "See?! we've released it on Q1!"

I would be disappointed.

I had the chance to play with it for an hour not too long ago. As a business user I was pleased but I was still left with some questions that couldn't be immediately answered. It will take some time to figure out it's business uses apart from the presentation ability, expanded calendar and mail features (big win for "older" executives). Being only 7 inches though I don't see it as something I would share with clients (that will have to wait until the 10" later this year/early next). The few thousand apps at launch is comforting and NFC on the cellular versions. Can't wait for the launch at end of month - well a few weeks later here in the North ;)

Having the PlayBook "tethered" to the BlackBerry is anything but dumb.

It's actually exactly what most major enterprises will buy.

The last thing the CIO needs is another 10,000 phone bills every month. That cost would explode IT budgets at many companies and is a marketing negative for tablets that don't have a Wi-Fi only option.

Seriously, the fact the PlayBook is tetherable to a BlackBerry is a huge selling point. And certainly not a drawback. Especially since no sensitive data is left on the PlayBook once the BlackBerry bridge is broken (unless the user saves the data somehow).

Even as a consumer there's no way I'd buy a PlayBook if I also had to get another account from a carrier. Generally I get great download speeds from my current carrier and have never exhausted the "unlimited" downloads. I always carry my BlackBerry, so I'll save a few bucks a month. NFC would make the link perfect, but in the meantime BlueTooth isn't exactly difficult.

And I can't remember the last time I used a desktop mail client for personal use.

So far as launch dates are concerned, RIM has ramped up marketing to enterprise in the last few weeks, and my current client is being shown demo's this week and next. They're champing at the bit to buy PlayBook, so my main worry is whether there'll be enough for the consumer market.

Many corporations are heavily into Adobe Flash already, so RIM's positioning for the enterprise is genius. We already have a number of Flash apps that will port with only limited change. Steve Jobs made a huge mistake when he rejected Flash, though that may have been more because the iPad couldn't support the technology.

Of course it was because they couldn't handle flash. "Flash is crap" is typical arrogant a-hole Steve Jobs modus operandi. If apple can;t do it then it's crap.

I used to own apple products, so glad I've totally broken from that a-hole zone.

To quote Gone with the Wind...
"Frankly my dear I don't give a damn!"
Just release the darn thing already I'm tired of waiting!

Help me to understand why BB always have such late (late meaning not to compete with Apple and others) releases of their products and thenk when released, its still lagging technically behind the iphone/ipad or android. I'm a die-hard BB-fanatic and will stay on this side the fence, but all the waiting on the Playbook is making me wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.

I like how he says, "this is how the BlackBerry platform should have been" gets me all excited about how the QNX phones are going to be.

It´s kinda funny, when he talks about: "Beeing professional... blah...for buisness.. blah" and then he watches youtube on it! Good one! :D

Yeah I caught that too, thought it was pretty funny that this whole thing was about being professional & the one website they chose to have running was youtube! Seriously?? LOL Couldn't have gone with CNN or something else?

I bet the 3G/4G Playbooks will have their own calendar, email, etc... I can totally see why RIM would assume that someone buying the WiFi-only version would already be carrying a Blackberry smartphone. This kind of "Oh, DUH" thinking happens all the time where I work. Somebody in an office makes a decision, and a shop floor worker says "well, why didn't you just do this..." and you can watch the look on their face as they realize they missed the obvious. At least this oversight can be easily corrected with a software update...

I hope someone from blackberry reads this. I am done!!! not waiting for it. I am sending u a breake (for you canadians I put the e at end) up note. your not worth waiting for! you have baited me and made me promises you have no intentions of keeping! One day u say! but i am not falling for your tricks anymore! show me the goodies or were though ! I am ending my bb phone that i bought to marry up with you and pulling my old phone out. NOBODY CARES ANYMORE ABOUT THE PLAYBOOK YOU HAVE PROMISED AND PROMISED IF WE WAIT IT WILL BE WORTH IT, BUT SORRY WAITING NO MORE!
ok one more month thats it. then i sware were though if you don't change

Geezus, this thing STILL hasn't been released?

Well, RIM pretty much nailed their coffin shut with iPad 2 being announced today. Do you think anyone is going to want a playbook after the announcement of the iPad 2 and all the cool new features? Not to mention the Xoom is out.

I hope RIM sells the playbook for $400 without contract, that's the ONLY way they are going to move units.

As a current Ipad user at home and at work id love to see the RIM tablet kick its tail. The single issue with medical records is being able to integrate it with such a market that has systems in place that are unwillling to work with anything except what hardware and software that has been designed for that system. Currently in human and animal medicine the Ipad can not only take care of in hospital needs but it can take care of billing and the receptionist end of things as well. The only issue with the Ipad being used in the medical field is that the systems designed to store client records are so diverse that it can not be a apple based piece of equipment because theyre current running equipment does not work well with diversity. (multiple record operating systems) Tell RIM help. From the professional world.

So Apple has released TWO generations of iPad's.

What has RIM done?

Released a bunch of videos.