RIM Prepares To Take On The iPad 2: The Breakdown

Apples iPad line is setting a fierce pace in the tablet market. Its doing so well, iPad may soon be considered a brandnomer to tablets much like Kleenex is to tissue. In a market dominated by Apple, does RIM have a chance? Set to launch on April 19th, The BlackBerry PlayBook is RIMs first tablet PC. It will have to play catchup to the highly hyped iPad 2. What exactly does the PlayBook bring to the table? How does it fare against the iPad 2? With all the buzz surrounding any iProduct, is there any room for the PlayBook? Why, yes. Yes there is. Lets look at the breakdown comparison.




While people have their preferences, its hard to deny the popularity of the iPad 2. Eventually, this market will diversify enough where it would be unfair to compare them. But considering tablets are fairly new consumer electronics, comparing size is justified. RIM is advertising the 7-inch PlayBook as The worlds first professional-grade tablet. In comparison, the magical iPad 2 is 10-inches diagnally. The jury is still out on whether 7 is any good for a tablet. Some people say 10 is good since you have more screen real-estate while others say its too big to be portable. The physical footprint isnt the only factor that is considered in the size issue. Weight is also important. The PlayBook weighs in at 0.9 lbs while the heavier iPad 2 tips the scale at 1.33 lbs. The iPad 2 is a larger device and is better suited for home use while the smaller and lighter PlayBook is ideal for travel. For pure portability, the PlayBook is the clear winner but for screen real-estate, the iPad 2 wins.




The iPad 2 offers a few options as far as wireless connectivity. You can purchase a WiFi only version or one with WiFi + 3G. The iPad 2 supports the WiFi b/g/n standard and is available for AT&T and Verizon in the US. At launch, the PlayBook will only be available as a WiFi only tablet. Sprint has announced they will release a PlayBook with Clearwire 4G support in the future. Other carriers will likely pick up the PlayBook in their respective 4G technology. So far, the iPad 2 offers more options to connect to the internet but the PlayBook will offer this in a faster 4G standard in the future.




Android App Count

As of this post, Apple advertises Over 65,000 apps for iPad plus nearly all of the 350,000+ iOS apps found on the iPod Touchs and iPhones can be used on the iPad 2 as well. The PlayBook however has an anemic 120 apps officially in BlackBerry App world however more are being developed each day. Since the PlayBooks OS (QNX) is a completely different platform than BlackBerry OS5 and OS6, developers have to build applications from scratch. There is some good news for the PlayBook. RIM announced that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps through an app player which is basically an emulator. Optimization may be an issue since Android apps is not native to QNX but this news comes with great joy for those waiting on the PlayBook. According to AndroLib, theres over 310,000 apps and games in the Android market. This doesnt mean all these apps will be available for the PlayBook. Android developers will have to submit their work to BlackBerry App World and have it accepted. The iPad 2 is leader in the number of apps, this recent move by RIM to accept Android developers my be the ace card they need to compete.



Power And Platform

iPad 2Personally, I think its pointless to compare specs of 2 different platforms but lets go over them. The iPad 2 has a 1 GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB of RAM. In comparison, the PlayBook also has a dual-core 1GHz processor but 1 GB of RAM. Apples iPad 2 runs on iOS and RIMs PlayBook runs on QNX. While most people are familiar with iOS, not many people know about QNX. QNX is a Unix-like OS that was founded in 1982 and the platform has been used in many applications including running cars to running Canadian nuclear power plants. QNX is new to the consumer market but its enterprise resume is impressive to say the least. RIM announced their purchased QNX on April 9th, 2010. iOS is also a Unix-like OS. iOS is famous for popularizing multi-touch gestures on their iPhones and iPod Touches. Apple iOS users have been wanting Adobe support for years and the two cant seem to work together for whatever reasons. Adobe has been working with RIM and providing support for the PlayBook. This means Flash 10.1 support out of the box as well as Adobe Air support. RIM also touts that the PlayBook will have true multitasking, taking a shot at Apple. Since multitasking on iOS is limited, RIM is quick to show off the PlayBooks multitasking abilities on many demos. With flash being a big part of the web, Adobe Air, and Android app emulation, and multi-tasking, the PlayBook may inch ahead of the iPad 2 in terms of platform features. On the other hand, iOS is a solid and proven OS while the consumer QNX is still new.



How Much?

The price of the WiFi only models on both the iPad 2 and PlayBook are identical. $499 for 16 GB $599 for 32 GB and $699 for 64 GB models. The only difference is the iPad 2 offers in WiFi + 3G models for an additional $130.



Who Will Buy An iPad 2/PlayBook?

The first part of that question is easy. Everyone. If youve been following the news, sales of the iPad 2 is through the roof topping 1 million units sold during the launch weekend. Sales have been so good, Best Buy is temporarily restricting iPad 2 units due to shortage. Its probably safe to say that RIMs PlayBook wont break any record since the Apple branding is so strong. Basically, consumers are buying iPads and the PlayBook is aiming at the second place position. That doesnt mean it will flop. Using its security reputation, RIM is aiming to target the enterprise market with some medical apps. These apps, backed with proper security, might entice the medical industry to tap into their deep pockets.


PlayBook HospitalPlayBook Medical Application







The Breakdown

Apples iPad is quickly becoming a generic trademark for tablets. It is massively popular and the PlayBook is far behind. Being popular doesnt alway mean better. Just look at Internet Explorer or Windows (for all the Apple fans reading this). On that note, is there any room for the PlayBook or any other tablet? Sure. Having choices is always a good thing. The only way for the quality and cost of tablets to go down is an increase in competition and supply. Im just as eager as the next guy to pick up a tablet. The question now? which one is the best bang for my buck?


1 Comment

  1. Tony says:

    It will become a strong competitor of the Apples iPad 2 with strong system of hardware and software.
    Tony recently posted..WiFi-Only Samsung Galaxy Tab Now Available At TigerDirect