Blackberry Playbook: Are you kidding me?

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No, really – please.  Someone tell me what everyone is smoking?  Everywhere I go I hear people talk about the Blackberry Playbook as if it were better than sliced bread.  They talk about how pretty and fast the UI is… but then, NOTHING.  It’s as if they never really used it at all.  Nobody I’ve talked to can point to what makes them so excited over the device.

Now I sat down with this thing for over an hour and in Las Vegas and grilled the RIM booth team for the Playbook on the CES floor about this that and the other.  And in the end… I still don’t get it.  Very little about this device says ‘winner’ at all.  Check this out:

  • WiFi-only at launch.  I repeat – from RIM: the people that brought you the mobile email device – there’s no cellular connectivity on this device at launch.
  • Email only works by ‘pairing’ with your existing Blackberry.  This essentially provides a ‘new interface’ for the mail you’re already getting on your phone.
  • No physical tethering.  Only wireless.
  • No replaceable battery.
  • There will be cellular at one point & it’ll be exclusive to Sprint once it’s available.  CDMA.  This of course means that Blackberry customers on AT&T & Verizon – the business networks – are out-of-luck.  And International travel is out the window.
  • US-only.  No Canada.  No Europe.  No Far East/Asia.  No LATAM.  Did you catch that?  RIM’s own home country of Canada won’t be seeing the Playbook available.
  • QNX OS-based Part 1.  This isn’t Android or iOS:  There’s no existing application library.  Worse, there’s zero compatibility with existing Blackberry applications.  Not even an emulator.
  • QNX OS-based Part 2.  Completely new 1.0 development environment, meaning existing Blackberry developers will need to learn to develop to a new platform.

Now in fairness, here’s a few things that might turn your eye:

  • Dual core TI OMAP processor (Ooh)
  • 3Mp front facing camera; 5Mp back facing camera
  • Small form factor with a quick, smooth, multitasking UI

…and that’s all I got. 

Someone tell me what I’m missing that’s got everyone hot under the collar for this thing?

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