In one of RIM’s recent videos demoing their upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, product manager Ryan Bidan asserted that even without a smartphone to Bridge it to (thus enabling standard PIM stuff like e-mail, contacts, memopad, and calendar), the PlayBook is still a great tablet for multimedia, apps, and web browsing.
That’s part true – the PlayBook can handle multiple 3D renderings and HD streaming thanks to its new OS and dual-core 1 GHz processor, and 1 GB of RAM. The 7-inch 1024 x 600 display, HDMI-out port, stereo speakers, 5 megapixel camera plus forward-facing 3 megapixel HD camera make the thing great for both capturing and displaying media. I don’t know if it’s still a great tablet without a BlackBerry, though; RIM’s making it perfectly clear that if you want something functional for day-to-day stuff, you want a BlackBerry smartphone, and a PlayBook if you want to back it up with some multimedia oomph.
I had gone on at length as to why RIM would want to make a PlayBook dependent on a BlackBerry smartphone for what many consider to be core functions, and even cited the aforementioned video where Bidan elaborated on how Bridge would work. Basically, no important or sensitive information resides on the PlayBook without having a BlackBerry paired, mainly to keep enterprise admins happy. Bidan also suggests in the video that they’ll eventually enable the PlayBook to do e-mail on its own like a real big-boy tablet, but by the time the OS is updated, a lot of folks will have become disenchanted and gone with one of the many Android offerings instead. One would hope that once Sprint launches the PlayBook, such a software update would be available, and that BlackBerry Enterprise Server software would also be updated so businesses could properly manage tablets without relegating them to Bluetooth peripheral status.
Maybe I’m just being too grumpy about the whole thing; what do you guys think, is the PlayBook still a good tablet even with the requirement to Bridge for e-mail and other personal information management apps?