At a special preview in Dubai, the BlackBerry PlayBook was the center of attraction among special guests. While excitement at the VIP event was high, so were the expectations of the guests - the BlackBerry PlayBook seemed premature to some. Not content with the performance of RIM's tablet, one guest noted that "They [RIM] should have waited until the PlayBook had everything loyal BlackBerry mobile users want and need." Although I agree to some extent, it is quite funny and ironic that RIM had banners set up with the text "Yeah, you should have waited."
All negativity aside, the BlackBerry PlayBook did deliver on many aspects such as robust hardware and snappy software - as can be seen in the video above. Sandeep Saighal, Managing Director for the Middle East at RIM, made an appearance at the event, reminding everyone that the BlackBerry PlayBook is "going to change the way you do business… this is just a small teaser, the best is yet to come." As far as launch date, it has been confirmed that EMS will distribute the BlackBerry PlayBook through select retail outlets from June 12th. Babar Khan, CEO of EMS, is not only excited, but expects RIM's tablet to shake up the Emirati market: "After experiencing a successful launch in North America we look to continue this within our region, where smartphone penetration is very high. With features such as seamless integration with a BlackBerry smartphone, Docs To Go for document editing and HDMI output, we expect the BlackBerry PlayBook to become an essential tool for this region's businesses."
What do you think? Personally, I believe that most of what has been said in the video is true, but I already knew about the limitations of the BlackBerry PlayBook in its current form. And, as said in the video, functionality can be expanded through software updates, which is an important feature in my opinion. I think the BlackBerry PlayBook is a great tablet in its own right, especially the Web browser.
What concerns me, however, is that the BlackBerry PlayBook is heading to the Middle East without being ready for it - Arabic input is lacking, as is the support for certain Unicode languages in general. Case in point, Word to Go can't even handle Arabic documents properly. But then again, this is all software we are talking about. Here's hoping that a software update with support for Unicode languages is on its way, lest RIM be ruining their opportunities in the Middle East - a big market for them.