Ray Reddy, who used to handle technology licensing and acquisitions at RIM, doesn’t feel particularly confident about the BlackBerry PlayBook‘s future. Right now Reddy is the head of a software startup called PushLife, which is a music management app for Android and BlackBerry, and though he’s looking to spread out into tablets, and already has product support for RIM smartphones (not to mention a history with the company), he won’t be making the app for the PlayBook in the near future.
Why not? For one, there’s the lack of native apps (like e-mail), which Reddy says is because it’s difficult to port to the QNX-based OS. As a result, RIM implemented Bridge, which Reddy cites as another reason the Wi-Fi PlayBook won’t do well (and I’m tempted to agree). Along that vein, Reddy says that the selection of third-party apps at launch won’t be adequate, even though RIM’s giving out devices as incentive. RBC Analyst Mike Abramsky says that PlayBook’s getting an Android emulation layer at some point, which could open some interesting doors for developers, but that probably won’t happen any time soon.
Personally, I’m not quite ready to call for doom and gloom on the PlayBook just yet, even with all of the Android competition and the downsides of Bridge. RIM’s tablet remains a powerful piece of hardware, able to handle multiple 3D renderings simultaneously, thanks in no small part to a dual-core 1 GHz processor, and 1 GB of RAM. Plus the 7-inch 1024 x 600 display is sharp and responsive, and the two HD-capable cameras will enable video calling, which will be especially useful once the WiMAX version of the PlayBook comes out.
What do you guys think? Is RIM losing the opportunity and hype they once had with the PlayBook, or is there still room for their tablet to be a hit?
Update: The folks at PushLife kindly pointed out that Reddy wasn’t actually an exec, and made no statements about how well the PlayBook would perform. Aw, all my lovely Photoshop work for nothing?