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Blackberry Playbook not off to a good start

Research In Motion have handed out some PlayBook tablets for review, but it would seem as if the new product has a fair share of problems.

The seven inch Tablet was designed to go head to head against the iPad, particularly in the business market. Reviewers complemented the rugged design and the QNX operating system seems to have left many reviewers with positive feelings. Sadly, the lack of software for launch is one of the main negative points.

Reviewers also highlighted the problems with BlackBerry Bridge, which restricts the device to a permanent connection with one of RIM’s smartphones when it comes to email, 3G web access and messaging.

The screen seems to have hit the spot, with many saying it is bright and clear with good definition. Mirroring the display via HDMI to a television was also seen as a very positive aspect of the design.

What of the software availability? RIM have said that they will add emulation for both native BlackBerry applications and those built for Android, but there is no time frame on when this will happen. Also with emulation there is always a performance penalty to be paid, so there is a possibility that the processor might struggle. Many reviewers highlighted that it might make sense to hold fire initially and see how the software side develops in the first couple of months.

David Pogue from the New York Times said “In principle, you ought to be able to slip the PlayBook into the breast pocket of a jacket – but incredibly, the PlayBook is about half an inch too wide. Whoever muffed that design spec should be barred from the launch party. At the moment, BlackBerry Bridge is the only way to do e-mail, calendar, address book and BlackBerry Messenger on the PlayBook. The PlayBook does not have e-mail, calendar or address book apps of its own. You read that right. RIM has just shipped a BlackBerry product that cannot do e-mail. It must be skating season in hell.

For now, the PlayBook’s motto might be, ‘There’s no app for that.’ In its current half-baked form, it seems almost silly to try to assess it, let alone buy it.”

Walt Mossberg, wrote about the Playbook in his Wall Street Journal column.

“This odd system, aimed at pleasing security-concerned corporate customers, doesn’t work with other smartphones,” he writes. “So, in my view, even though Bridge is a neat technical feat, it makes the PlayBook a companion to a BlackBerry phone rather than a fully independent device. RIM says it is planning to add built-in cellular data, e-mail, contacts, calendar and the other missing core features to the PlayBook this summer, via software updates. But until then, I can’t recommend the PlayBook over a fully standalone tablet, except possibly for folks whose BlackBerrys never leave their sides.”

Sadly, the dual camera functionality seems to be less than impressive, with Edward C Baig from USA today saying “PlayBook has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (no flash) and a 3-megapixel front-facing camera. Neither camera shoots great in low light, and I noticed momentary shutter lag when snapping a still. PlayBook cameras can capture video up to the 1080p high-definition standard. But there’s no video chat option out of the gate.”

Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be off to a great start and we can’t see many people jumping out of a queue for the iPad2 to opt for the new RIM model.

KitGuru says: Its not all bad, but its certainly not the ‘impact’ RIM would want to target the tablet buying market.

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