∞ RIM unveils the PlayBook and a bag of unicorns

The media went crazy this week reporting on the next iPad killer, the PlayBook, which was unveiled by BlackBerry-maker, Research in Motion. There’s only one problem — it doesn’t exist. Your Mac Life’s Shawn King was having a field day this week on Twitter berating the media for not taking RIM to task for not actually showing a product. They talked about it, gave specs for it, but nobody actually saw one. (Edit: Apparently you could see, but not touch the devices. Engadget has more.)

I defended the right of the media to report on RIM’s news, but the more I read, the more I realized that very few in the media made it clear that there really wasn’t a product. There was the promise of a product.

That is what many would call vaporware.

RIM has been around for a long time, so I’m confident that what they announced will actually be released someday. The company says sometime in 2011. We’ll see.

According to CNET’s coverage of the Playbook, here’s what we know:

It has a 7-inch touch screen, is just under 10 millimeters thick, has a front and back-facing camera for videoconferencing, a 1GHz dual-core chip, and 1GB RAM, 1080p high-definition video playback, Wi-Fi, and supports HTML5 and Flash-based video.

And what we don’t know:

Of course, there’s still much we don’t know: when it will ship, price, availability, and even some core features like battery life. It’s easy to connect the dots that the product is not quite ready, but that the company wanted to get its tablet out there before the expected crush of tablet announcements expected later this year and early next year.

Here is another interesting read on Singularity Hacker:

The PlayBook was never demoed at the Live Announcement. The dude is supposedly holding the device in his hands and he doesn’t touch the screen once. Let me repeat that. He never touches the device once! The screen never changes and it never gets dark. I cant help but wonder if he’s just holding a dummy (plastic) device.Compare this to Apples iPad announcement. There was a frigin camera over Steve Jobs shoulder while he operates the actual device. If this PlayBook is so cool, why not actually show it off?

With strong sales of Apple’s iPad, RIM had to do what most companies are doing these days — promise its customers it is working on a tablet device. That really seems to be the extent of RIM’s announcements this week.

  • Eric

    It’ll be out, right after the Microsoft Courier.

  • Bobby

    Just more junk from a has-been company. When, and if , it ships it will probably HAVE a lot of what they claim now, but it won’t work. RIM is so far behind the curve it it’s not even interesting anymore. NOTHING to see here, move along…

  • Fring

    But, but, but…it’s an iPad killer – the press pundits and ihaters say so. The itoy will be relegated to obscurity. Already. Gives me the vapours, that’s for sure



  • Vamsmack

    So what they’re release is an iPad clone, which will be obsolete before it hits the market due to Apple releasing the next iPad in January.

    DAMN IT.

    Mind you those unicorns sounds good.

  • respighifan

    It is not an iPad killer It is a tablet aimed first at Enterprise then the non-business consumer It does exist it is being sent to corporate customers before Christmas, then to the consumer market in the second quarter RIM is not a has-been company in the same way that Apple was not a has-been company when they were nowhere for a while – in fact, RIM is in far better position now than Apple was ten years ago. Barking all over the place “RIM is the next Palm” and “RIM is dead” from tek-ifans and bloggers has failed to kill the companyalthough it certainly did wonders for anyone who was shorting the stock!

    RIM is of course playing catch up – but so what? In some instances you take the lead as they did with the Blackberry ES and as Apple did with the iPhone and iPad, and some times you play catch up. That’s business. You innovate in some areas, you imitate in others. The playbook looks like a great product and it will keep Apple on their toes – competition is healthy. So, ifans relax – pour yourselves a drink!

    • “It does exist it is being sent to corporate customers before Christmas…”

      Sorry but statements like that will have to be backed up with some sort of facts as you are the only person I’ve seen mention this.

    • Vamsmack

      First off using terms like “ifan” doesn’t help your argument.

      The problem here is enterprise level customers have to want it first and what I see is that they don’t because they’ve already started a migration to iPhones & iPads(I am using the company I work for and a few other large businesses where I have friends and family employed who can comment on this as my basis).

      I am seeing more and more high level people within corporations carrying around their iPads and iPhones to meetings with no laptop in sight. The size is right for them so when I asked if they could use a 7 inch device and showed them how much of the screen real estate they would lose using the as yet non existent playbook they just couldn’t get excited. 2 inches difference is a lot just ask a woman. A smaller form factor doesn’t work for these (generally) old dudes who are calling the shots when it comes to enterprise decisions. The iPad is big enough that they have a decent sized keyboard and enough screen real estate to get some real work done.

      I am sure I have heard Shawn say this at least once, ‘Shut up and ship’. Until I can buy this product it is just another CrunchPad and we all know how that worked out. Too much time is given to vapourware and that’s why Apple is awesome there is never this idea that a product will be coming someday or soon it’s usually available shortly after it is announced.

  • Off topic: Whenever I see the word “Unicorn” or “Draconian” in a headline, I immediately think Peter Cohen wrote the article.

  • The unicorns would have been nice, tho’…