Gear: BlackBerry PlayBook, Slate Tablets.
After a few days with the PlayBook in my mind I decided to go check it out and I liked it quite a bit. Before I spent $500 on this slate tablet I tried several systems including the iPad 2, Motorola Xoom, and some Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets. There are a few things that attracted me a bit more to the PlayBook than the other systems, mainly the portability.
I'm not a big fan of tablets closer to the 10 inch screen. Most 10 inch tablets are not easy to hold for long periods of time for things like book reading. Also the 7 inch screen of the PlayBook allows me to type easily with my thumbs in both landscape and portrait modes. The Galaxy Tab series are a little thick for my taste.
- 7 inch system (type in landscape and portrait mode easily)
- 1GHz OMAP 4430 dual-core cpu gives it plenty of power
- Smooth interface
- Very good browser (renders Flash)
- Mirrored HDMI output
- Good development tools (WebWorks HTML 5, CSS, native C/C++, Flash and AIR)
- PlayBook OS apps + Android apps (crackberry.com)
- Multi-tasking is good (with a little modification it's even better)
- Speakers are beyond my expectations
- Bezel gestures are neat (reminds me of my Palm Pre)
- Keyboard doesn't have auto suggest
- Small power button (don't know what they were thinking)
- No expansion slot (ie sd card)
- Rotation lock could use a hardware slider (like the iPads)
- As of right now very few accessories that take advantage of the system
- Price is a bit high ($500 for 16GB wifi version)
In the past I have voiced my opinions against slate only tablets. Slates are like netbooks without a keyboard and a better touch interface. I have used the PlayBook for podcasting, book reading, browsing, music, youtube and other things that I can do already with a laptop. So why get a tablet? The PlayBook has good battery life, has more viewing space than cell phones, and can be used for "other than pc" tasks.
Some of my little uses:
- Podcasts, news, music, youtube (media consumption)
- Full web browsing (unlike some other dominating tablet...)
- Bed-side tasks (like last minute email, news, book reading via Kobo Books or Google eBooks)
- Sleep machine (get some ambient "music" and fall asleep quick)
- Alarm clock (I got rid of my oldish clock and now use the tablet)
- Software development
Since the system has some good development tools I plan on developing some apps tailored to my needs. I have seen some good apps on the PlayBook but not very many "great" apps. For developers that seek to "own space" there is plenty of room in the PlayBook AppWorld.
Most developers will continue to work on the dominant iOS and Android ecosystems. There is a lot of money to be made by joining these more widespread platforms. I think that giving a smaller player a chance is a good thing for progress and developer freedom. When a company has a monopoly they can exert a lot of control over developers and content creators. (Apple was charging 30% on subscriptions). So I'm going to join the smaller PlayBook platform for a while.
I mentioned in the video that I'm also looking forward to the HTC Flyer. The Flyer is another 7 inch tablet but does have pen input via N-Trig and runs Android. The Flyer should be released within a month and once that occurs I will compare them and decide which one to keep.