∞ RIM needs to shut up and ship

Remember the good old days when companies would announce a product and then actually ship something? RIM doesn’t. They seem to think it’s okay to just keep announcing vaporware and not ship anything.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]In September 2010 RIM announced the PlayBook, an iPad competitor running the BlackBerry OS. That hasn’t shipped yet.

In January 2011 RIM announced the PlayBook 4G, upping the ante on its competition by including the next generation data connection. That hasn’t shipped yet.

In February 2011, RIM outdid itself and announced the PlayBook 4G LTE, HSPA+ and Mobile WiMAX models. They haven’t shipped.

That’s three generations of PlayBook tablets announced in five months and we still haven’t seen a single product make it to market. The media seems enamored with the PlayBook and don’t ask the obvious question — where are the products?

So, I will say what most people are thinking at this point. RIM, SHUT UP AND SHIP!

There must be a wacky bunch of people in RIM headquarters that come up with these plans to keep announcing products. It’s almost like they know they are so far behind Apple that they are trying to pre-announce every available technology before Apple gets to it.

A bold, but stupid move. Instead of looking like they are on top of things, RIM is looking more desperate with each PlayBook announcement. Of course customers want to know you are planning future products, but they want to know you can fulfill the plans you already made too.

At times, RIM seems almost delusional in the things it says about the tablet market — a market it isn’t even a part of yet.

In a call with analysts in December RIM CEO Jim Balsillie said, “So, I think the PlayBook clearly sets the bar WAY higher on performance, and you’re going to see more.”

See more? We haven’t seen anything yet.

He also said, “I think the PlayBook redefines what a tablet should do.”

Really, Jim? You had no idea what a tablet was until the iPad was released and now you’re an expert on redefining an entire market.

RIM should just be ignored until it proves it can do more than announce vaporware.

  • Anonymous

    Seems to be a trend among tablet manufacturers. It’s not isolated to RIM, but they are by far the best at it.

  • Anonymous

    Ahh love the Apple fans ranting.

    A rant like this only means you drones are a bit worried about how the Playbook is shaping up.

    “The media seem enamoured with it”? Really? Pretty sure Apple has that media love all to itself really.

    What happened to the Retina Display for the iPad2? that’s a shame.

    The Playbook has ALWAYS been touted as a Q1 2011 release. We haven’t passed that threshold so stop crying.

    • guest

      Did Apple announce a retina display for the ipad2 then?

    • Holy moly, please tell me you’re comment is satire.

      Why should Apple or it’s fans be worrying about something that doesn’t exist yet?

      As long as your product doesn’t ship and can be tested by people other than your own engineers, just STFU.

      iPad 2 with retina resolution? I haven’t seen Apple announce anything like that.

      There’s a huge difference between rumours by third parties about a product that hasn’t even been announced yet and having your company’s CEO compare your unreleased product to that of a competitor, who inessence created the market your planning to compete in.

    • Anonymous

      The Playbook was not announced as being “Q1 2011”, it was announced as “early 2011”. Pedantic, perhaps, but it means that when the playbook slips to April or May, you’ll be able to condecend some more when RIM is criticized and say “it was always touted as EARLY 2011! We’re not even into August yet!”

      Additionally, Apple has announced nothing about the iPad 2, so I’m not sure why you’re even mentioning it.

      Oh, and stop name calling. You’re part of why these things get unreasonably heated.

      • Actually, (for the record) RIM staff did announce Q1, 2011. Thus they are still in that window and will be until March 31st. Will they hit it? only time will tell. 😉

        • Anonymous

          Actually, for the record, they announced “early 2011” when they announced it. Barrist said they “ALWAYS” said Q1 2011, and that just isn’t true. They may have clarified it later, but it’s not what they said from the start.

          Source: http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/RIM-Unveils-The-BlackBerry-PlayBook-NASDAQ-RIMM-1325727.htm

        • RIM’s “free PlayBook if you make an app for it” deal has a deadline of March 16th, so my guess is that the PlayBook will launch in the two week period between March 16th and March 31st. If it doesn’t launch then, I guarantee they’ll at least announce the launch date in that period.

    • Anonymous

      Glad to see the anti-Apple zealots visiting to pump up Jim’s page hits.

      You shot your credibility in the foot talking about a Retina display. Seems your focus on rumor sites isn’t restricted to Blackberry fanboy sites. This is not a rumor site. Get to know your audience before setting your yammering into high gear next time. M’kay?

      And where’s my Harumph comment? The link to Youtube was hilariously appropriate for Jim’s story.

    • Mark

      So, RIM announces Playbook first in September of 2010 and here, 6 months later, they still haven’t shipped one. 6 months is an eternity in the world of tablet computers!!! You don’t have to be an Apple fanboy or have an MBA from Harvard to see that RIM is obviously just spouting more of their marketing BS.

      RIM needs to stop telling us they are going to release something innovative and actually release something period.

    • Xof
      1. Please provide a link to an Apple press release that discusses the iPad 2, with or without a Retina Display.

      2. Don’t you think it is just a tiny bit strange to announce to successor products to the Playbook before they’ve shipped unit #1 of the first one they annoucned?

      Really, it’s hilarious to see the reaction to manufacturers screwing up be, “Well, you like Apple so nyah.”

      • How are the 4G Playbooks “successors” to the original one? I’m sorry but this argument makes no sense to me whatsoever. As far as I know, the iPad shipped a WiFi version and later a 3G version. The 3G version was never seen as a successor to the WiFi iPad but rather the same 1st generation iPad with 3G.

        Same rule applies to the Playbook. 1st generation Playbook with WiFi; later in the summer, 1st generation Playbook with 4G. Your second point doesn’t make any sense.

    • Wakkawakka

      “how the Playbook is shaping up”? What? There isn’t even a Playbook out yet. Anyone can just make up specs that a device has and never release it. And when did Apple say they were putting a retina display on the second iPad?

      • V

        Yes, but Apple did announce them at the same time.

        • I think you’re missing the point here — Apple hasn’t announced a second iPad at all. Anything you’ve heard about the iPad 2 to date has been a rumor. Some of them are very plausible rumors, but they’re still rumors. Whatever else you may say about Apple, they’re actually very good about not pre-announcing products: it’s very rare for them to start talking about a new product without giving you a specific date they plan to be shipping on. Instead of “the first half of 2011” or “early 2011” or “Q1 2011” they’re much more likely to say “June 26, 2011.” And more often than not, they’ll hit their target. (The iPad was off by a week, as I recall.)

          I don’t think it’s quite fair to talk about the Playbook having “successors” yet, no, but Dalrymple’s larger point is that RIM is going on to announce multiple models of the Playbook when they haven’t actually gotten the first one out the door yet, and that it’s perhaps wiser to just get the first one to market and see how it all goes.

    • Mr. Whoop E. Cushin

      Are any of these products shipping in the next 6 weeks? Because that’s when Q1 2011 ends.

    • macartisan

      “…How the Playbook is shaping up” is precisely how I am shaping up to beat Muddy Waters as the master of blues air guitar.

    • Anonymous

      > A rant like this only means you drones are a bit worried > about how the Playbook is shaping up.

      Yes, we are worried PlayBook won’t ship and Apple will have no competition to push them to drive prices down. Although at $499, 7-inch PlayBook is a half an iPad for the price of a whole iPad, so even if PlayBook ships, who knows? But PlayBook certainly has more potential than Motorola XOOM. Not saying much, I know, but we are generally rooting for RIM because their integrated strategy at least makes a good product possible.

      As for “drones” … it is not like we had a choice of many tablets to buy last year and we all mindlessly bought iPads. iPad is the only mobile PC product that is not a product demo. If RIM were forward-thinking, they would have responded to iPhone with PlayBook in 2009 and beaten Apple to the punch, especially when their current strategy seems to be to obsolete their handhelds with PlayBook anyway, and catch up the handhelds later with “mini PlayBooks”.

      > media seem enamored

      PlayBook has done well in the press considering it does not exist. iPad has 20 million users, a plus 90% satisfaction rating, 75,000 PC class native C apps, and is so inexpensive that it is being cloned a year later at higher price points, including by RIM. iPad has earned its good press.

      > Retina Display for the iPad2?

      First, you don’t know that iPad 2 won’t have Retina Display. Second, it is now rumored to be coming in iPad 3 this September. Third, the iPad Retina Display was always a rumor, it was never an Apple announcement. Apple never talked about it or showed it off. They can’t … they have an actual shipping product right now. There is no advantage to showing what is coming later. Only a company with zero market share like RIM can afford to do that.

      > Q1 2011

      OK, 3 PlayBooks due in the next 6 weeks. We’ll see.

      How long until they have the 10 million users that are required to get developers interested?

      > stop crying

      Nobody is crying. We are YAWNING. We are already bored with PlayBook and it has zero users.

      Shut up and ship definitely applies here.

    • I’m not crying. I’m laughing. At RIM.

      • Bob

        Why is it that individuals feel the need to bash whatever company they choose not to buy. It is sad that people are so personally attached to their devices. I use a blackberry mobile because it meets my needs better than any other device out there. I feel no need to bash the iPhone or other competitive products though. My sense of self is not so fragile that it needs to be bolstered by brand affiliation.

    • Kabeer_2k5

      ok lets see on 01apr 2011, post Q12011. atleast by then playbook shd be released. apple never announced retina display fr ipad2, its all rumor mills spinning

    • Bigboyz12000

      not worried about words…show and prove! How can you brag about a product that doesn’t exist hahahaha…what a joke!

    • Playbook? Really?

      Tune in again in 1 yr to compare sales with iPad.

      If it EVER ships, most of them will be on eBay within a month.

    • Anonymous

      Nothing happened to the Retina Display, the cameras, the anything. Because it is all rumors. Until the 2nd when Apple speaks, there’s no shame to be had

  • Robb

    Ha ha ha… so true. There are so many phantom tablets out there being heralded as the top performer; the lowest priced; the killer new platform; better, best new and improved interface, blah blah blah and WHERE ARE THEY? Today, we also see stories about the HTC Flyer tablet and its options to use either you finger or a BATTERY powered stylus??? Who wants/needs a battery powered stylus? But, talk all they may its all phantomware and all the dozens of Microsoft Windows mobile and Android tablets that have been pre-announced going back a year ago to CES and longer are non-existent. Meanwhile back in the laboratory… how do we reverse engineer? How do we pretend we have an app store? How do we construe the numbers to make it appear we have a million user base already installed even though we don’t have a product?

    • TechWatcher

      Say it sustah! PREACH!

    • Anonymous

      I couldn’t agree more. I gag every time I hear someone new thing hyped as the iPad Killer. Until you have actual sales numbers (to end users and adjusted for returns), you haven’t killed anything. So shut up would ya

  • Kb

    How about the supper apps ad? Funny how so many people rag on Apple and at the same time copy everything they do. It’s great that there is some competition. It would be better if the competition would bring more to the table than just copies.

  • Apple appears to do a very good job planting stories in the press on occasion when it serves their needs. More than a few bloggers seem to think the leaks about the next generation of iPhones (smaller, bigger, made from unobtanium, whatever) were timed by Apple to coincide with Mobile World Congress.

    Regardless, I’m not sure what other tools competitors have in their shed to compete with the iOS ecosystem at the moment. They’re scrambling to release version 1 and pre-announcing anything to stay in the news and grab a bit of mindshare. Why? They know that every iPad sold is not just one less prospective sale for them this year but is in fact several sales lost. People don’t tend to switch platforms easily, especially when they start investing in the ecosystem through app and media purchases.

    F.U.D. is their friend right now, especially when Apple seems intent on seeing how hard they can squeeze app developers and publishers for 30% of everything. Apple has a bit of time to play hard ball while Amazon, Pandora, Netflix, magazines, newspapers, and others have few alternatives. That may change as the year wears on, but for now — as RIM, HP, Motorola, and the rest know all to well — Apple has shipped a real tablet and they haven’t.

    • >> Apple seems intent on seeing how hard they can squeeze app developers and publishers for 30% of everything.

      App developers have a choice. They can develop for a platform that Apple created and be thankful it exists, and reap the benefits as well as 70%. Or they can sit on the sidelines wishing there was something to code that someone, anyone would be willing to pay them for. — Hey, but at least they’d keep their 100%

      • App developers do have a choice, and I agree Apple still offers the best ecosystem in town. But don’t think that Google, Microsoft, and the rest aren’t looking for any chink in the armor to exploit.

        • When Google and Microsoft start paying as much attention to the User Experience as Apple does, then everyone will benefit.

          Google’s business model (advertising) is antithetical to User Experience (it benefits themselves and their Advertisers — not end users.) Android tracks you to sell your data back to Google’s clients (the Advertisers.) Search results? They’re only showing you what makes them money to show you.

          Microsoft doesn’t even count because they don’t have a platform, and doubtfully ever will.

  • Rimmed

    My only concern is if the Playbook will be a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price. Yeah, that’s all marketing hype but the public bought it so that’s the bar RIM has to beat. Or at least approach.

    In fairness, RIM did say shipping early 2011 and that means, to me, Q1. So they’re still within their timeframe. It baffles me how you can be upset about a company that announces a ship timeframe and sticks to it (so far).

    Apple has a history of missing ship dates, so let’s not get down on RIM unless the Playbook hasn’t shipped by the end of Q1.

    • Anonymous

      The point was not that they haven’t shipped but they have effectively “Osborned” the product they haven’t shipped by pre-announcing another two models.

      Generally Apple have actually shipped product when they announce it, clearing certification first. Yes it’s easy to bring up stuff like the White iPhone but when you are selling as many as you can make, changing the color is less important.

    • Buffett

      I looked up a few RIM products, and found their original announcements, and haven’t found one yet that has a ship date. Announcing a ship date at all seems to be new for RIM!

      As for “Apple has a history of missing ship dates”, can you give examples? Apple tends to not announce products until they’re ready to ship, or nearly so. The major exception in recent memory was the original iPhone, which had to be submitted to regulators many months in advance, but did ship on time.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I’ll just be bold (which could definitely be boldly wrong) and say: IMO, RIM is fucked, and I don’t really care about their vaporware. Android (and possible WebOS) tablets are where the interesting stuff is going to happen. RIM will be out of business in 5-7 years, or bought by someone, or else running Android themselves.

    • Brucemlloyd


  • Right on, Jim! All the complaints about Apple overhyping its products always ring false because it ships, and then the press goes berserk (not us, of course). Or it doesn’t ship, and the blogs and press speculate endlessly while Apple doesn’t give out a word.

    The playbook for PlayBook seems to be to talk it into existence instead of releasing.

  • Homermith10

    It is a little more solid than vapor (more like liquid at this point because folks are actually getting to play with it). I wish they would ship too, because I can’t wait to get my hands on one.

    • Anonymous

      Liquidware. I like that.

  • I can’t help wondering if companies like RIM and Samsung are able to anticipate genuine, qualitative reaction to legitimate deficiencies of their products, and merely attempting to build up hype for strong initial sales before the tepid reviews and returned units start coming in.

    • You’re onto something here 🙂 I genuinely believe that subconsciously they hope this scenario to be the case.

      In general I think they don’t do enough or incorrect research on the usability of their new devices. Often I wonder if a mere mortal was able to handle the device before it’s pre-announcement, or if only engineers gave their input on what’s intuitive or not.

      Then there’s the practice of the red pen: Conpanies are afraid of investing large sums of money for something that won’t be successful. They try to reduce costs before the inception of a new product, often removing great ideas from a product that would enable it to stand out.

      In the case of the iPad where Apple’s supply-chain-fu put them in the position of price leader. Yet they have the highest hapti quality of all devices present in the market today. Instead of at least trying to deliver a product that feels as great as the iPad, they resort to cheap materials. In am attempt of beating Apple on price terms, they completely ignore the possibility to learn and compete on quality.

      David Chartier tweeted earlier, that Apple initially shelved the iPad-project for five years and only took it off this shelf,when they felt they had enough experience to build something like this. Any CEO who thinks his company can deliver a product in nine months that can compete with something that has been in the making for five years, should be removed from his post immediately.

    • Anonymous

      Of course they can’t judge a qualitative reaction. After all, they don’t just make Apps, for their phones, they make Super-apps.

      They have no sense of proportion – or propriety. They just think blowing smoke will obscure the deficiencies of their products and keep the Blackberry faithful in the dark about how bad they have it.

  • Frank

    Oh come on boys, cut RIM some slack. The really do have the PlayBook ready to ship. Problem is the damn battery keeps running out before they can send out the press release!

  • However, good the PlayBook may eventually be, it is still going to be a 7″ tablet going up against a 10″ tablet at the same price. Now, I accept that 7″ may be a desirable size for some people but even so, if the screen area is half the size of a 10″ tablet then the price should be halved too. If it is not $300 or less it’s dead.

  • Anonymous

    I was ready to buy the original… then decided to wait for the 4G… but, then, the LTE model is coming soon…

    … Maybe I’ll buy a couple of AAPLs.

  • Anonymous

    Totally agree with you, http://mashable.com/2010/12/30/rim-denies-playbook-battery-issues/#comment-121135806. The conclusion I made was that RIM has their marketing interns planing the Playbook launch.

  • Anonymous

    the iPad has been out for a year, it has killed the netbook market, the only thing Apple has to worry about the onslaught of Android tablets, RIM does not have a chance in the tablet space.

    • Anonymous

      The Android tablets that cost as much as a MacBook Air and have only the wireless network as their distribution channel. It’s not the same as phones. The Wireless networks will not push it unless there it comes with a 2 year contract.

      • The Xoom is $599 versus the equivalent $499 iPad. It has a higher-res screen and various other extra features. So it’s not nearly as hopeless a cause as you make out.

        • Travis

          By far the best-selling iPad is the $499 wi-fi 16GB version. Motorola is leaving a huge market segment on the table by missing that price point.

        • Anonymous

          It has a slightly higher res screen (1280×800 vs 1024×768). The main extra feature it does not have is a dedicated stable of tablet oriented applications which the iPad has.

          Also people say the iPad is not for content creation, but the aspect ratio of the iPad is much nicer for creating content or reading than the awkward 16×9 widescreen XOOM screen, which is mainly good for watching movies or TV.

        • Anonymous

          but only if you sign up for a two year contract with Verizon. Otherwise it is $799.

          Also the Flash support isn’t live and from the reviews the whole thing is buggy as heck.

    • Anonymous

      The onslaught of Android tablets has begun: Motorola XOOM for $70 more than the comparable iPad, with double the monthly bill, half the battery life, zero apps, no app store, no Netflix, no AirPlay, and no clear OS upgrade path. Watch out, Apple!

      Apple must be taking emergency meetings about the XOOM … at the pub! Celebrating their own success and toasting Motorola for making iPad the CHEAPEST mobile PC on the market.

  • Jam

    I really wanted an iPad but decided to wait for the iPad 2…. but a lot of industry insider info seems to suggest as usual Apple will hold out many features it should have….. The Playbook has 1gb of ram, expandable memory, hdmi out and supports flash and a bunch of video formats….. at 499$ its going to be hard to beat…. say what you want but without flash, restrictive mp4 only video support, no video out port and no memory expansion it seems that Apple is dictating how I should enjoy my offline and online entertainment…. a shame really. Apps are great and all, but as an ipod touch owner I only probably use 5 to 7 apps out of the hundreds i’ve tried…. Playbook FTW!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, Apple is dictating how you should enjoy your entertainment by actually shipping a product. Those bastards.

      • Way to completely miss the point…

        • Anonymous

          A sense of humor. You can haz it, I believe in you! 🙂

    • lkalliance

      I realize I’m just cherrypicking on one complaint only in your post, but Apple does have an HDMI solution in the form of the AppleTV and Airplay: any video using the Apple streaming video APIs on the iPad can stream to your TV via Airplay. I do realize that’s somewhat limited as well: you have to be somewhere with an AppleTV hooked in and be able to share the wirelss LAN, but iPad is not completely without a method to output to TV.

      • Anonymous

        exactly, Apple iPad + AppleTV is a great solution, the best part about it is no wires. Are you really going to be carrying around an HDMI cable with your tablet device all the time?

      • Jeremy

        Or you can just dl an app called AV Player that plays back Avi, flv, divx, mkv and many others on your ipad or iPhone. It even does tv out. It has it’s own web browser so you can dl video from the Internet. There a few other apps that do the same thing (oplayer, azul media player, xplayer etc). Developers have ported the open source video players to objective c now, and expect them to use airplay soon. just search for Avi or mkv on the AppStore for more.

        The days of iOs being mp4 only playback are long gone.

    • YossarianLives

      But this tweet of your contradicts your pro-RIM stance


      “Rim’s CEO needs to stop doing interviews…. he must have an acquired taste for feet since he keeps putting his in his mouth!”

      So what is it? Thanks for coming to play, now run along.

      • Asdf

        That was awesome. : )

    • Anonymous

      You have to really stupid to spend money on a company like RIM which has consistently over promised and under delivered.

    • Anonymous

      you should buy a used iPad while you wait for the Playbook to be delivered. I will bet you will soon forget about the Playbook.

    • Anonymous

      What $499? It’s $599. And why would you need a video port out when you can stream video to your TV? If you have a problem finding 5-7 apps to use in an ecosystem with tens of thousands of good apps (and a lot of bad ones) how many do you expect to find in the meager pool of apps they’re going to have for the foreseeable future?

    • Anonymous

      Having owned the 3G iPad since it came out, I can tell you the lack of Flash is really not an issue. Android fanboys and various tech blogs made out you would see nothing but big blue LEGO blocks everywhere, but in actual fact, the success of the iPhone before it means many sites were pro-active about alternative content. Lots of video sites work on the iPad by using HTML5.

      The downside is there are far less floating, expanding, animating ads on the web. I’m sure you’ll agree this is terrible.

      If you’re into gaming sites like Newgrounds you may have issues, but I am doing just fine for games thanks to the app store. There are tons of games now, and there are always sales bringing prices of better titles as low as a dollar.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, you should buy a PlayBook if you think half an iPad for the same price is a good deal. But your reasoning is not sound.

      > 1gb of RAM

      The extra RAM is needed by PlayBook because its software is not as efficient as OS X. The money you pay for the extra RAM is like a bad software tax. It would be better spent on a full-size display on a device with highly optimized software.

      > HDMI out

      AirPlay video out is a much better feature than HDMI video out. Tablets are wireless devices. Anything you have to plug them in for other than overnight AC and occasional large data transfers such as loading them up with 20 GB of music is a bug. If your TV is on your Wi-Fi network (and if it is not, then why not?) then why do you have to plug an HDMI cable on there to share video?

      > supports flash

      It supports a minority of FlashPlayer movies that have been specifically optimized for FlashPlayer for Mobiles. Almost no Web publisher has done that because there are only a few hundred thousand FlashPlayer for Mobiles users. To be clear: PlayBook does not have the same FlashPlayer from a PC, it has “FlashPlayer for Mobiles.” Ironically, iPad can play more Flash movies through its SkyFire app than PlayBook can play in its FlashPlayer, because SkyFire uses a server component to “mobilize” the movie in real time.

      > a bunch of video formats

      There is only one video format: ISO/IEC 14496 MPEG-4 H.264, aka MP4. It’s the successor to MPEG-2 and MP3. It is in the hardware of all video players and cameras, including all smart phones and PC’s, and it is the same format as FlashPlayer and iTunes and Blu-Ray. Any other format is a hobbyist format or production format that will have to be decoded by your device’s CPU, which means poor quality and low battery life. Notice that an Atom PC can play 1080p H.264 in its hardware, but that same movie stutters if it is rendered in FlashPlayer on the CPU. So at best, RIM is giving you some rope to hang yourself with a promise to play anything other than H.264. Note that H.264 is the only video format supported by the PlayBook hardware. Anything else is a hack that will not work well in the majority of cases and will ruin your battery life.

      > restrictive mp4 only video support

      Again, not restrictive, because that is the only standardized video, and the only video that is practical on mobile devices. The “MP4 only” is not an Apple thing, it is a Consumer Electronics thing. MP4 is the only video format in a Consumer Electronics device’s hardware. And again, you can play FlashPlayer movies in iPad’s SkyFire app, which renders the MP4 from the Flash presentation in iPad’s hardware H.264 player.

      > no video out

      That is incorrect. iPad has AirPlay video out, over Wi-Fi. Again, wireless Wi-Fi is better than an HDMI cable. iPad also has MIDI-over-Wi-Fi, you don’t have to plug in a USB MIDI interface, although it supports those, too.

      > Apple is dictating how I should enjoy my offline and online entertainment

      What you can do with a device is always dictated by the manufacturer. Apple or RIM, it makes no difference. iPads can do MORE than PlayBooks, not less. That is a fact. There are about 350,000 iPad apps, of which 75,000 are full-size. There are many accessories. It actually exists right noe, which also helps. For the past year, you could say that RIM has been dictating that you use a notebook PC instead of a mobile PC. A full-size screen also makes many things possible that a half-size screen like PlayBook does not. By putting in a half-size PC screen, RIM is dictating you zoom in and out all day, everyday, as you view content such as Web pages or PDF that was made for a full-size PC screen. Apple dictates you don’t have to zoom that stuff.

      > Apps are great and all

      These are PC’s. They are mobile PC’s, bit they are PC’s. Apps are EVERYTHING. Apps are to a mobile PC as calls are to a mobile phone, or audio video is to a mobile media player. What you said is the equivalent of saying about a mobile phone that couldn’t make calls: “calls are great and all, but …”

      > as an ipod touch owner I only use 5 to 7 apps out of the hundreds I’ve tried

      Yes, but how many songs or movies or podcasts did you use on your iPod? Thousands? iPod is a mobile media player. Primarily, it can play any song or movie in the world. Apps are way secondary on iPod. Even on a phone, they are secondary. On a mobile PC, they are the primary purpose. So on a mobile PC you will want to use apps as much as you used music and movies on your iPod. You will want hundreds of great apps from dozens of categories, specifically in your own fields of interest. For example, I have about 50 music and audio apps on my iPad because I work in music production. Those 50 are drawn from thousands of music and audio apps for iPad, a category that does not even exist on other mobiles. So to get say 200 apps for your own mobile PC, you need about 200,000 to exist, including all categories. And they need to be PC class native C apps, which only Apple is offering. In 5 years, post mortems of the 2010-2014 birth of the mobile PC will include phrases like “how did the other manufacturers think they could get by without native apps?” Native apps have defined PC’s for over 30 years.

      So good luck with your half-a-mobile-PC PlayBook. I hope you are still able to make as many excuses for it after owning it for a year. Even so, it is a shame you didn’t buy an iPad last year. Then, you could buy a PlayBook this year and if it didn’t outcompete the iPad, you could return the PlayBook, and no harm done. And in the rare case that PlayBook did outcompete the iPad for you, you could resell the iPad, the resale value is high, you would have ended up paying $150 for your year of iPad use. Now, you have missed a year of mobile PC use, and may miss 2 carrying around a half-a-mobile-PC with no apps, wondering why your competitors are drinking your milkshake.

      • KoolaidTaker

        It seems to me most people who are interested in Android devices are comfortable with buying and using PC’s and PC related hardware using a long-established paradigm: Which is to build and configure hardware and software to best suit your particular situation or need. People who prefer to do this generally do not see the compromises inherent with this approach to finding solutions to their technological needs. Focused solutions frequently involve compromises somewhere else in the digital lifestyle. Focus frequently is synonymous with inflexibility, incompatibility or lack of cohesion, when it comes to tech gadgets.

        The concept of a computer “just working” has always been what’s best for me. Mac’s traditionally have been easier to network, plug hardware into, and load software into than PC’s, for my purposes. I despise having to trouble shoot a piece of hardware or software that has interrupted my life, already in progress.

        For twenty years, Mac’s have made my business run smoothly without costly downtime or interruptions. Now, my family uses a home network server, has iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV’s MacBooks, and iMacs. Every one of us has different things that we want to use technology for, but all is well: Convergence is happening now, and it is easy for me to handle because of the OS X / iOS ecosystem.

        I feel sorry for anyone who actually wants to attempt to get Android phones to work easily with Android tablets, Windows 7, a Phillips MP3 player, and a Google TV! Sharing media, streaming it between devices, configuring a RIM tablet to work with a Motorola phone? You’re kidding, right? Sure it can be done. The question is, why would I want to subject myself to all the pain and misery?

        Apple’s devices play ALL my family’s digital media, we buy app’s one time that we all can use, our operating systems are all compatible and are easily managed, it’s easy to stream pics, tunes or videos to any device, create and print wirelessly from any device… and that’s right now! But Apple has already laid the foundation for many new features and improvements that will work on all our devices for the next few years. Android will not be updatable on many devices because they will loose support from their manufacturers/providers within a year or less. Verily, Android will suffer righteous indignations from the hands of the AirPlay – iOS – OS X trinity.

        RIM announcing feature updates to products that haven’t shipped is at best dubious, especially when Apple not only has shipping products, but a thriving ecosystem that will support all it’s devices now and into the future.

        Simply stated; when you buy Apple stuff, you get ease of use, upgradability, feature improvements, consistency and integration now, plus upgrades and software compatibility for at least a couple of years. Android/Windows et al in comparison, has no “ecosystem” at all, and really, a dismal forecast in this regard. Android devices are all meant to exist independently. Any ability to cooperatively coexist is coincidental. Taken on an individual basis, many Android and RIM products have compelling virtues, but for my money that is outweighed by their lack of complementary hardware and software. As long as RIM and Android licensees focus on differentiating their products from each other, they will have a hard time developing a strategy that can compete with their biggest threat, which is Apple’s Ecosystem.

      • T6t

        Well said

    • Jam Balsillie? Is that price for real, or just a typo on the Office Depot staging site?

    • Why do you need 1Gi of RAM? Why do you even care? If you ever used an iPad you would realize that everything “just works” — it could have a terabyte or a kilobyte. There is no reason you need to expand memory in the iPad. Restrictive mp4 video only support? VLC is available in the app store, my friend. Apple dictating your online and offline entertainment? Seriously? You’re getting upset that Apple isn’t fluffing your mane and so you’re holding out for a Playbook (ftw) that won’t dictate how you get your jollies. Hope that works out for you.

      • Chupakabra

        vlc was removed while you was sleeping

      • Anonymous

        I love my iPad but it doesn’t have enough RAM as becomes obvious when you surf the web.

        • I’ve seriously never noticed this. Maybe I’m just not doing it right 🙂

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I’ve been waiting for someone to point this out. The first announcement that I heard of the playbook was from the CEO, and I believe he said something like “RIM has the most advanced tablet in the world today.”

    I remember thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they shared it with the world?”

    Not that I think the AIR stuff they’re doing is going to even put a dent in the market, but who knows. Either way, thanks for ranting about this. I’ve been doing that in my head for a long while.

  • rand

    I play avi files on my iphone / ipad all the time, without converting them first.

    There are quite a few apps that let me do this.

  • Canucker

    It’s a standard nodus operandi among KIRFers and its a shame RIM has descended to doing this. It is a reflection of the lag between iPad and the rest – at least Samsung shipped (and sold). Perhaps RIM is waiting to see what the iPad2 looks like before they launch an obsolete product? Talk is cheap, shipping is expensive. It is also important for RIM to appear relevant. With all of the recent focus on iOS, Android and even WP7 RIM is saying “Hello, we’re still breathing, not dead yet!”

  • Anonymous

    “It’s almost like they know they are so far behind Apple that they are trying to pre-announce every available technology before Apple gets to it.”

    Sounds like a play from Microsofts…uh, playbook.

  • PGeorge

    Jim, I think you better revise your column.

    I’m here in the Yukon typing this on my BlackBerry PlayBook and it’s wonderful. It comes with a virtual keyboard that has both English and Inuit, and it is designed to withstand temperature of well below -30C.

    Unfortunately, when the temperature rises about 10C the PlayBook begins to melt and it becomes vapor at room temperature.

  • Anonymous

    RIM is already a “has been” in the tablet market.

    Well actually, they were never even a “already been”.

  • RIM clarified/modified in December of 2010 that the PlayBook launch would target March of 2011. http://www.geek.com/articles/gadgets/blackberry-playbook-tablet-to-be-delayed-until-march-20101217/

    It sounds like RIM’s not going to want to slip later than that, due to expectations of the iPad 2 launch as early as April. OTOH, they don’t want to just shut-up-and-ship if the product isn’t solid and ready yet. (Well, shut up, maybe. 😉 Guess we’ll have to see… as always…

    • I got to play with one (RIM fanbois in the building had them come in for a dog & pony show). It’s far from solid.

    • Anonymous

      You’re missing my point, I think. This isn’t a comment about RIM’s intentions, it’s a response to a comment from Barrist saying that RIM “always” said it was Q1. They didn’t “always” say that, they originally said “early 2011”. What they clarified it to later isn’t what I was addressing.

  • 3 Generations? I think you mean 3 variants of the 1st generation PlayBook…

    • Anonymous

      Variation or generation is semantics. The point is that they are adding features to vapor products instead of shipping. They are competing in the vacuous arena of feature lists. They have shipped 3 generations of feature list and no product.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly why it annoys me when people say the excitement around Apple products is all marketing hype or just Apple fanboys rushing in to make a scene. It’s not. The reason people get excited about Apple products is because when Steve Jobs is on stage giving a demo of some flashy, futuristic looking device, we are within days, if not hours, of having one in our own hands. Apple doesn’t do vaporware. Yes, they’ve missed deadlines and they’ve had a rare, few products fail to make it to market (white iPhone comes to mind) but they have no record of hyping products that take forever to see the light of day. And that’s what most of their competitors and detractors don’t seem to get.

  • Perfectly written!!! at least North America customers see also new phone models, down here, we are still with BB 5.0, and have been promised to see new phones like 9800, etc’ back at 2010.

    I think BB has huge production and organization problems. They are very similar to Nokia, losing market share daily, it’s time for revolution.

  • You’re spot on, Jim. I had my suspicions about the PlayBook from the day it was announced and voiced them here: http://www.macuser.co.uk/3083-the-playbook-fact-or-fiction

  • Anonymous

    When you release a new enterprise product you have to build developer support and sales people have to show it to their client months in advance. It isn’t like they’ve ever changed the release date. Anyway, they shown it to different markets so it seems like it’s been around the globe and back on the Internet.

  • Anonymous

    This is ironic… run a billion dollar business on a device that doesn’t exist? Only Wall Street… http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/4541991/running-a-billion-dollar-business-with-a-tablet-pc/?playlist_id=87247

  • Macaholic

    As Steve once said, “Real Artists Ship!”

  • JMParis

    Reminds me of the “Coming Real Soon Now” of 20 years ago.

  • I am highly anticipating the release of the playbook. I think it really would be a game changer with the specs and features that it has. But i do agree with this article. Like for real RIM shut up and ship! This market is too crazy for you to be blowing up all your business to people with out the device actually dropping! Folks might jack your style!!

  • Anonymous

    dear apple fanboi, got to ask yourself how long did first iphone took to get released after it was first announced? someone made you real angry..glad it is RIM.

    • Anonymous

      Dear Hater. Stop trying to rewrite history.

      The iphone was pre announced because the application for FCC approval is public information and would have lead to a leak that Apple couldn’t stop. And while they didn’t have exact dates, they did give a release month.

      Which is more than RIM has done.

  • Anonymous

    As Rim fades further into the sunset, soon they will announce a 3D tablet that connects to our brains and is powered by blood…not needing any batteries! The media will love it!

  • Anonymous

    I have to confess that, with all the buzz, I just kind of assumed there was a product already out, but that it hadn’t really caught on yet. So I guess you could say they’ve been somewhat successful in raising their profile.

    BTW, is “media” singular or plural?

    “The media seems enamored… and don’t ask”

    • Peter Cohen

      “Media” as an entity, as used in this case, is singular. “Media” to describe several mediums is plural.

  • I do like that so many people take their hardware ideology so seriously, they swear their allegiance to products that don’t exist.

    Posted from my Courier tablet.

  • I love how all these supposedly innovative companies (e.g. RIM, Motorola, HP, Palm, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell, etc.,etc., etc.) didn’t think the tablet market was worth anything until after Apple announced the iPad last year and sold millions of them. If these companies are so great, why didn’t they create a compelling tablet product before the iPad? In nine months the iPad has sold more than all previous tablet PCs combined (and tablets have been around for more than 10 years). Now, of course (after copying the iPad) they all have great ideas for touchscreen tablets. Where were their great ideas for touchscreen tablets before the iPad? They didn’t exist. People love to say that Apple isn’t innovative but where were all the touchscreen phones with webkit browsers before the iPhone was introduced? Did RIM have one, did Mototrola, did HP? Now every manufacturer wants to make a touchscreen phone, it’s crazy! And they say they’re not copying Apple. Can anyone with any intelligence at all believe that all of a sudden, Dell, HP, RIM, Motorola, Samsung, etc. all decided to make touchscreen tablets without any reference to Apple’s success? Apple made almost $10 billion in revenue from one product introduced less than 1 year ago – for comparison Motorola Mobility’s entire 2010 revenue was less than $15 billion. That’s why these companies are in the tablet market, because they got caught napping by Apple and now they’re racing to catch up and grab some of that cash.