BlackBerry PlayBook: Not for the Majority, Definitely for Me

An unboxing or review this post is not. There are lots of those on the web. And if you do get to read them, chances are you’d be disappointed. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find people either love or hate the PlayBook. It has been judged as a dead-on-arrival (to the market) product for two main reasons: 1) the absence of Blackberry’s killer app which is native email and 2) it went against the grain with a proprietary OS. Naysayers believe that this is a formula for failure, in a world dominated by iOS and Android.

Thus the title of this post, which pretty much sums up the next few hundred words. But if you’re into the details, read on…

My BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet standing on a Convertible Case original accessory.

Why did I get a PlayBook just weeks after it was launched in the Philippines despite the bad rap it’s been getting? My reasons:

1. My wife has a 1st gen iPad. I wanted my own tablet so that I wont have to borrow from her and a 2nd iPad just didn’t make sense. Having a second different device would be like opening a whole new universe for my wife and I to explore.

2. I wanted a small tablet, one that’s truly portable and discreet. In the photography world they say that the best camera is the one you have with you. Same with tablets. My PlayBook in it’s black convertible case looks like an innocent Moleskin. In contrast, aptly decribes the large-ish iPad as ostentatious.

3. Why would I aspire for a tablet that a gazillion other people already own? I bought a tablet so that I have something to use, not to belong in society.

These first three reasons scratches the Galaxy Tab and Iconia Tab off my list of options. More reasons…

4. PlayBook’s hardware rocks! Definitely a great platform to build software and apps on. Plus: 1080p HD cameras, more pixels per inch (ppi) than an iPad, HDMI output, GPS, Bluetooth (duh!) and stereo speakers (double duh!).

5. The software, while not revolutionary, is right for me. I like the bezel gestures, multitasking and Flash capability. The productivity apps  (Adobe and Word, Spreadsheet and Slideshow to Go) are great to have. Even the small things like orientation lock (to prevent the screen from unintentionally and irritatingly twisting from portrait to landscape and back) is heaven sent. I find the OS intuitive, and I bet you will too, if you just keep yourself from thinking of the iOS as de facto.

6. BlackBerry Bridge makes sense to BlackBerry phone owners. It’s RIM’s answer to the PlayBook’s intentional omission of native email, PIM and 4G. It enables email and PIM on my Bold 9700 to be accessed. And with Internet tethering, I don’t need a separate SIM (and mobile plan) for my tablet.

7. Lastly, I do not give a hoot about a million and one nonsense 3rd party apps. I don’t need them garbage in my tablet. Photo editing, casual games, currency converters, horoscope, calorie counters  and what nots are mere novelties. I mainly use a tablet for browsing, social networking, communication, media consumption, and probably office productivity, in that order. PlayBook gets the job done.

While it’s wrong to count chicks before the eggs hatch, the horizon looks good for RIM’s tablet: upcoming Android support, native email and PIM, and substantial firmware updates to further refine the product. More substantial apps are trickling in, such as EA’s amazing Dead Space for Playbook that just came out. Chances for a 4G capable model is slim, but who knows? These improvements should open up the PlayBook to a wider audience. Due to slow sales, the PlayBook will most likely be abandoned by smaller nuisance app developers, but I do hope the core apps (i.e CNN, Yahoo Messenger, Kindle, etc.) still get released and will continue to be supported with updates. My request to RIM: please don’t give up on the PlayBook like HP did with their Touchpad.

And so to wrap up: a typical person is an iPad person, no doubt. But if you can relate to what I’ve written here about the PlayBook, I suggest you give it a chance. I am solidly recommending it, especially to someone who dares to be different.

My last word may be uncalled for, but if you would allow me to evangelize to you in one sentence, heed this: Don’t be an Apple drone.


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