Four things RIM PlayBook got right

Research in Motion has apparently learned some lessons after the underwhelming response the company received to its BlackBerry Torch smartphone.

Research in Motion has apparently learned some lessons after the underwhelming response the company received to its BlackBerry Torch smartphone.

RIM's first foray into the tablet market has gotten a lot of things right that its big smartphone release this summer got wrong, particularly on the specifications side. Not only did the Torch's screen size come in smaller than most smartphones, but its 624MHz processor was significantly slower than most smartphones on the market, which typically now have processors of 1GHz or higher.

BlackBerry Torch could sink or swim on OS 6|With PlayBook, RIM jumps into the tablet game

But RIM has made some smart decisions with its new PlayBook tablet that will help differentiate it in what is becoming a crowded tablet market. In brief, here are four things that RIM got right when it designed its first-ever tablet:

Get the processing power right

This is key since processors have moved far beyond the traditional functions of plain old central processing units (CPU) and are now responsible for an array of functions including power saving, system memory and video processing. And while the Torch's 624MHz processor was a disappointment, RIM made sure to arm its first tablet with a 1GHz dual-core processor that puts it on par with the iPad and other competitors. So if you pick up a PlayBook you can expect it to support the same caliber of video playing and memory as the iPad.

Make it lighter and leaner

Since the PlayBook is targeted at enterprise users who travel a lot, RIM made sure to make it even slimmer and lighter than the iPad. For the record, the PlayBook is 0.4 inches thick and weighs 0.9 pounds, while the iPad is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds. So not only will the PlayBook have the same processing power as the iPad, but it will be even more portable.

Cater to the enterprise

While RIM has been moving more toward the consumer market in recent years, the company seems smart enough to know that it can't out-consumer Apple. Enterprise features are RIM's bread and butter and they will be key to peeling away enterprise customers from the iPad. The company has so far been emphasizing the PlayBook's HD videoconferencing capabilities, an obvious boon to enterprise users. The tablet also features all the same wireless data security features that have made BlackBerry devices such big hits in the enterprise. So unless Apple starts operating its own NOC in the near future, it's likely that RIM will continue to offer the best wireless security for corporate users.

Support both Flash and HTML

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been feuding for the past year with Adobe over the efficiency of its Flash platform, which is commonly used to deliver video on the Internet. Jobs claims that Flash is a poorly designed program responsible for crashing Apple computers. Jobs also says Flash is ill-equipped for mobile devices as it sucks up battery life and has security holes. Apple has instead encouraged developers to write applications on open standards such as CSS, JavaScript and the emerging HTML 5 standard.

RIM has said, "Forget all that. Our tablet will support both Flash and HTML 5," thus giving application developers more leeway in the language they use to write apps for the BlackBerry 6 OS. This may not guarantee that the PlayBook becomes a world-beating hit, of course, but it was a savvy move that will please developers and perhaps entice more of them to develop apps for RIM.

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Configuration / maintenanceconsumer electronicsNetworkingwirelesssmartphoneshardware systemsPhonesData CenterRIM PlayBook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Reed

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?