back to article RIM PlayBook strikes back at Jobsian internet dream

"Amateur hour is over," reads the RIM PlayBook ad inside the Office Max shop around the corner from The Register's San Francisco bureau. As I walk by, looking for a printer cartridge, RIM tells me that its new PlayBook is the world's first "professional-grade" tablet. That's not the most original line in US advertising history …

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  1. AdamWill
    FAIL

    Just 'Flash'

    "RIM is making a big point of this in the US TV ads it's running for the PlayBook, where the company loops the infectious chorus to Queen's Flash (sing it with me) "ah-ah, savior of the Universe!""

    No, sadly, they're not: they're actually just looping the bit of it that goes "Flash!"

    Every time I see that commercial I keep waiting for the "ah-ah, savior of the Universe!" bit...and it _never comes_. Curse you, RIM.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Berners-Lee only likes the DRM Jobs dislikes

    So Tim Berners-Lee imagined an internet with architectural diversity where data could run free with DRM encumbered Flash content but would reject the DRM encumbered Kindle content? Uh huh, sure.

    1. SuccessCase

      Escape route overdone

      Very good review, except for over-playing of the playbook somehow offering of an escape route from proprietary tech. I sense the argument here was motivated by ideals rather than reality. The only advantage the Playbook offers in terms of additional openness is Flash, which is er, closed. And the argument that Flash makes it somehow closer to Tim Berners-Lee's vision of the open data web because it is ubiquitous is simply a bad argument. I don't think on the same argument, the iPad for example, is going to become magically more open just by virtue gaining market share. Also the other argument about the benefit of Kobo is a non argument since Kobo also is available on iOS, so I'm not sure how less choice and a subset of iPad functionality re:eReaders can be argued as a benefit. But these are minor quibbles and the sentiment that "open is good" isn't, I think, a bad thing, even if the arguments given don't quite make the case that the Playbook is more open than the market leader in any truly meaningful way.

      Of course we've all (most of us reading tech blogs anyway) heard of the Blackberry bridge constraint. The most surprising other negative to have jumped out from reading this review for me though is the limited battery life. RIM really have to get that sorted. For me that tips the balance to the point where the Playbook becomes a clear fail. It's a shame, because from what I've seen there is a lot in there to love. Blackberry are going to have to work really hard to get version 2 hardware out. The B-Bridge restriction can be repaired with an update. Not so battery life.

      So in summary It sounds like a supermodel with a severe case of acne, bad breath and the clap. Lot's of potential, but come back a bit later love.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    The vision of Tim Berners-Lee

    Has NOTHING, NOTHING to do with Flash.

    It's about open data, not having it enclosed in a proprietary container be it widely used or not.

    That's like saying a web made up of Word documents would follow TBL's vision. It doesn't. It's ridiculous to even suggest this.

    If you want to poke at Apple's Flash stance find a better example rather than writing this garbage.

    1. RichyS
      Facepalm

      Agreed

      I almost spat my sandwich onto my laptop when I read that. To be honest, I sort of skipped the rest of the article on the basis of that comment alone.

      Tim Berners-Lee's current big thing is the semantic web. How on earth does a closed source proprietary plug-in help with the semantic web? AC's suggestion that this would be like a web made up of Word documents is absolutely bang on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Agreed

      If anything, Apple's aversion to Flash websites is closer to TBH's ideal than the other. Though of course much of the rest of their work isn't ;-)

      The point about the number of Apps in the Apple App Store is a good one too: iThings need apps because they're limited in full-personal device functionality without them... that and they're a lovely closed shop revenue stream.

  4. Chris 3

    Interesting article...

    I was a little confused by the app compatibility issue. runs RIM's own OS but it runs Android apps, but only from RIMs store ... and there aren't many apps there yet.

    So does it run standard Android apps, or do they need to be adapted in some way?

    (Disclaimer: I'm an iPad 2 fanboi) But I suspect the battery life is going to be a bit of an issue for professional use. Is it coincidental that Job's stated (if not actual) reason to ban Flash is based around its power consumption.

    Finally, while it would be nice to have Flash, I'm not sure that citing Flash support as giving you the Web as TB-L would want it is *quite* right. He's not a notable Flash proponent, from what I understand.

    1. Walt French
      WTF?

      Why Playbook has NO NATIVE APPS from 3rd parties, JUST JUNK GAMES

      I double-checked the BlackBerry Playbook developers' page just now:

      - There is NO information about the Native Development Toolkit. None.

      - There is NO information about porting Android apps to PlayBook. None.

      - There IS info about developing using web specs (HTML) and Flash/AIR.

      Enterprise developers essentially NEVER write apps in Flash/AIR, although they may use it in data display, etc. on their web pages. Some apps can be written in HTML; it's about the same as if you were on a website but you wouldn't want to do complex database searches, incorporate photos, or fine-tuned interaction/response.

      RIM has apparently worked with a few devs, e.g., FaceBook, to write native apps on the PlayBook but unless you have privileged access, “sorry” is the best response you can get.

      Third-party apps are mostly web games ported from Flash to Flash. At least they're easy. The quality, speed and capabilities are all limited.

      RIM has big plans for PlayBook apps, but they are NOT working with 3rd parties or in-house developers to build “real” apps of the sort that Android and Apple users take for granted. So this is a non-starter for the Enterprise, and a non-starter for consumers.

      RIM seems to have an honest, hard-working and smart Developer Relations guy but he's hobbled by working for co-CEOs who dismiss apps as "tonnage" and utterly fail to appreciate how valuable developers are to RIM's business. Apple had to learn this the hard way (developers were stunned back in 2007 when Jobs said no tools), but learn they did.

      Until native and/or Android toolkits are available to developers, there will be thousands of junk games, but zero expense tracking/reporting systems that Enterprise types (myself) depend on. Zero video editors to allow putting your kids' birthdays on FaceBook. Zero third-party mapping, or any other consumer or business apps. Just junk games.

      Nobody needs the hundreds of Fart apps that run on iPads. (I've counted them.) But nobody can work on a platform that has zero true productivity and consumer apps in virtually ALL the major categories.

      1. Thomas 4

        Slight misnomer

        CEO: "We want a serious, professional-grade tablet for the high powered executive types in the business world."

        Marketdroid: "Sounds good. Why don't we call it the Playbook?"

    2. GavinC

      A title

      The Playbook runs on QNX - which is a unix compatible system. Android apps are written in java. Therefore all that is needed to run an android app is java support, which QNX supports,s o getting the apps to work is trivial. However, getting them to the device requires some way of accessing an app store - google at present does not allow the playbook to access the Google App Store (which could easily be fixed via a Playbook client), so instead you need to get them from the Blackberry store. This requires that any developer re-submits their app to Blackberry for inclusion in the store.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Er, Gavin

        "all that is needed to run an android app is java support, which QNX supports, so getting the apps to work is trivial"

        Hardly. It's not as difficult as building from scratch, but integrating the Android libraries can hardly be called trivial. I know, I do this kind of thing for a living.

    3. SuccessCase

      @chris 3

      Chris

      You are damned right Flash will be a major contributor to battery drain. What is often missed by tech publications is that Apple's tighter control over multitasking and ban on third party code interpretation ensures they can maintain a very tight control of the run loop. Their policy on video ensures pretty much all video viewed on the device is hardware accelerated which is much more power efficient. The multi-tasking design ensures apps which fail to conform to a tightly defined multi-tasking profile get terminated. The profiles whilst constraining still however allow you to do pretty much anything you would want to be able to do with multi-tasking, you just have to obey the rules and design your app to be a good citizen. And the policy on third party code interpreters (e.g. They aren't allowed) ensures Apple maintain adequate control over the application run loop. If the run loop is a black box running on a thread, as it would be for e.g. Flash, there is no way to be able to balance performance with control, which leads to either a bad user experience or a drain on the battery because apps don't have to obey the power and performance efficiencies Apple mandates.

      The design of iOS recognizes a simple truth in life. If you put a bucket of money in the middle of the street and put a sign over it saying, this is a common resource which everyone can use, but please be respectful and only use what you need - people don't. This should be born in mind by end users whenever they read any developer criticism of Apple's constraints. Developers are on the side of taking resources from the bucket. But the bucket owner isn't Apple. It's you. It's your tablet.

  5. Malcolm 1

    Hulu

    Hulu blocks the playbook browser for licensing reasons (supposedly). It's not a technical limitation:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=hulu+blocks+playbook

    1. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Hulu Plus

      Hulu Plus over this side of the Atlantic runs USD$7.99/mo and allows accessing Hulu content (including premium content) on devices other than PC's.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Flash is open

    I was under the impression that the Flash format was now open, but Adobe's player was not.

    Depends on how you define open. Do you mean the "standard" or Adobe's implementation?

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Open

      Properly open in terms of a data format or media format should mean the standard is available licence free, no patent threats and if you're really serious get it ratified by ISO as a standard.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Troll

    The solution seems simple...

    If you want to get any real work done, use a real work machine, like a laptop.

    Stop messing around with these toys.

    1. johnnymotel
      Thumb Up

      airline pilots use them....

      I think airline pilots do 'real work', so now airlines are trailing iPads in cockpit and the pilots love them. It's not a 6lb laptop, with dual core CPU's etc, but it does help them with their real work. Same goes for doctors, lawyers etc.

      The tablet is such an interesting market, it clearly is not all things to all people, but it can be some things to some people. I guess in some ways it's an extension to the laptop/desktop computer, but with extreme portability and excellent battery life thrown in.

  8. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge
    WTF?

    Sorry, did I read that right? No email client???

    If this machine has no email client out of the box then how exactly is it a business "professional grade" machine?

    And I disagree with the assertion that flash support is necessary to make the web what it's supposed to be. The iPad can display web sites pretty damn well, and not many serious web sites require flash. Not many flash applications will work properly with touch screen input for a start. And the web isn't always ideal for a 9.7" or 7" screen, especially for interactive applications so special versions would have to be built anyway. Be they altered web sites or apps - it doesn't really matter to the end user.

    I'd much rather have no flash, but the ability to run all day on one charge. A modern machine that lasts just 24 hours on standby is a bit of a joke. And two hours heavy use? Come on RIM, that derisory!!!

    1. GavinC

      Re: Sorry, did I read that right? No email client???

      "and not many serious web sites require flash"

      iPlayer, TVCatchup, YouTube, Hulu... to name just a few. All of which have had to create apps or alternative mobile sites just to work with iPads. PlayBooks support the site by default, without forcing the developers to create a workaround site.

      Personally I'd take a machine that supports flash over one that doesnt, so you have the option if you need it. If flash proves to be too big a drain on the battery, simply dont visit flash enabled sites, or disable it via the menu!

      Oh, and as for the email client - it is due to be released soon, dont worry.

      1. TheOneAndOnly28
        Facepalm

        I blame Shockwave, Gabocorp.com and idiots who think a bit of simple animation make things cool

        "iPlayer, TVCatchup, YouTube, Hulu... to name just a few. All of which have had to create apps or alternative mobile sites just to work with iPads."

        Can't help thinking you are missing the point here. These websites that you mention have created iPad / iPhone versions of their sites but I would argue they built them to take advantage of the hardware visiting their sites and the sheer number of users / requests for the sites to be altered. They were not 'forced' to do anything.

        If you were on your flash enabled device and you visited a website that had 'mouseover' events that were required to navigate around that site, how would you do that? Given there are no mouseovers on a tablet (Unless RIM have created a system that can tell where your fingers are without them actually touching the screen).

        As a developer I can say that working with Flash is more of a pain than tailoring sites to work with HTML5 and h264. Plugin detection is a dark art in itself and guess what? You still have to have in place a non flash version of the site content for people who god forbid don't have flash enabled. It's been like that for years.

        I'm glad you would pay $100 dollars more than the going rate for an inferior device in so many ways, just to exercise your right to have a battery draining technology that you admit you would disable. I'm loving your logic.

      2. TelePom

        Flash Sites

        The main public-facing website for the company I work for is entirely Flash/Flex-based. However, having gone to the great trouble and expense of developing this front-end, we're currently building a jQuery/Ajax replacement, simply because we're not expecting Flash support to be ubiquitous on devices we want to support in the future. Also, the Flash site is impractical to modify. I'd rather support a non-flash-based device than hope some unknown device will support my rigid Flash-based system.

  9. Walt French
    FAIL

    Schizoid Machine?

    If I read this right, the PlayBook is just great if your desire is for a web portal limited mostly by its 7" screen size. Bit of an issue for the NYT, for example, but doable.

    But if you like to watch movies on airplanes, there's no content and insufficient battery life; if you read on the train, your vendor doesn't even list the #1 best selling fiction in its Best Seller list. You likewise have me-too, feature-stripped versions of music, no TV, photo library/editing, etc. I'll be generous and give it a bit above zero on the consumer feature score.

    Worse, if you're a corporate type (as am I), there are only a few, RIM-supplied productivity apps; missing are the expense reporting tool I rely on, the note-taker, the drop-boxes, etc. And there are no practical tools for my IT department to build custom apps or briefing books or standards manuals, unless you just dump them into a PDF.

    In other words, a 90% on the web, a 15% on consumer apps (guaranteeing no "BYO" devices in the enterprise), and a 10% on supplied corporate tools (more sometime soon) and a pure zero for custom Enterprise functions.

    Sure can't figure out why a quarter million people wanted that mix of features.

  10. Paul Shirley
    Grenade

    weirdly schizophrenic review

    1.5 pages of apps vs cloud/net Apple bashing switches to a page of describing the lacklustre Playbook app support? Make your mind up! Or better yet, remember apps aren't just about consuming net content, the net isn't just about running cloud services or 'apps' and flash is as often the problem as any sort of solution.

    Still, the whole ensemble does give a probably realistic view of a device with more value in the Blackberry logo than it's tablet implementation. RIM: must try harder.

  11. Nick_Healey

    the "app divide" can be turned to their advantage?

    "we don't leave you to find the odd nugget in hundreds of thousands of apps. we only offer you apps that *we know are great*. So, one mapping app, one train time app, one [etc etc]. Don't spend your days endlessly installing apps that turn out to be no use. We guarantee all the apps on Playbook" [or something like that] -

    - yes, I know techies would much prefer the Apple environment of loads of apps in every area (heck, some of you even prefer *Android*, where most of the apps are unusable for anyone who isn't a techie) - but to normal people, they just want it to do each new thing, reasonably well and reasonably easily, without having to spend forever trying to evaluate a dozen alternative options (there's a reason that there aren't a dozen Contacts apps to choose from).

    </marketing>

    <apologies>

    1. Daniel 4

      Ha!

      "- yes, I know techies would much prefer the Apple environment of loads of apps in every area (heck, some of you even prefer *Android*, where most of the apps are unusable for anyone who isn't a techie) - but to normal people, they just want it to do each new thing, reasonably well and reasonably easily, without having to spend forever trying to evaluate a dozen alternative options (there's a reason that there aren't a dozen Contacts apps to choose from)."

      I can honestly say, that of the iPhone owners I know (no small number at this point), the techies spend by far the least average amount of time playing in the app store. This is only an average, of course, but it's a big enough difference to be very noticeable. Actually, the "normal people" seem to be the ones who spend the most time enamored with their new toy, playing with it long after most techies would have figured out what they wanted installed and switched to "it's just another tool" mode.

      -d

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Can't be Jobs free browsing...

    if it's based on webkit! :D

  13. John. C
    Stop

    Some info

    A few points about the facts: 1) Playbook does have a Facebook app;

    2) In US dollar terms, a 16gb Playbook costs the same as the 16gb IPad2; IPad 1, if you can still find one, sells for $100 less.

    You could verify the facts and update your post accordingly.

    Thanks.

    John. C

    1. GavinC

      Re: Some info

      It just shows how ill informed the journalist is, and discredits the whole article imho. The Facebook app has been out for weeks, yet this article was apparently published yesterday.

      Also makes no mention of the fact angry birds and native email clients will be released shortly...

  14. Raymond Camden

    Facebook

    You mentioned Facebook didn't have an official app - but they do. They released a nice update for it about a month or so ago. Much better then the Android version.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many site full of flash games

    With so many site full of flash games like addictinggames, newgrounds and Armor Games, it might be reasonable to add the number of free flash games to the app count for any tablet that is able to run flash.

  16. Alastair 7

    Serious question

    Why in the hell did they call it the PlayBook?

    When I first saw the name I assumed that it meant they were going for a consumer-friendly device. And while this isn't consumer-unfriendly, its success seems to be pegged on business. Who might be inclined to turn down a purchase request for a "PlayThing".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      American term

      Playbook is a term for the book of "plays" an American football coach may carry around. Often used in a business strategy context.

      1. stucs201

        might make sense to Americans

        but to the rest of the world it sounds like a games machine. Playbook makes as much sense as a games console called a workstation would.

      2. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge
        FAIL

        Everyone in the world is American

        I didn't know playbook might have any other meaning than something to play on. So here's yet another company who thinks that in countries other than the USA (I mean "in international"), we must either not count, or speak American. Sorry RIM, but Playbook means something to play on, and not a business tool!

        1. Daniel 4
          Stop

          Wrong country...

          *sigh*

          RIM isn't an American company, it's Canadian. Canadians tend to get upset when called Americans. Americans also tend to get annoyed when bitched at over something that we (as a collective entity) didn't do - after all, it isn't like the world doesn't have plenty of valid things to complain at America over.

          Anyway, while this marketing blunder is the sort of thing I would expect from an American company, in this case. it isn't. It's a marketing blunder from a Canadian company. So, as South Park once suggested, I would suggest that you "Blame Canada."

          -d

  17. NoneSuch Silver badge

    It is not the lack of apps

    It is the lack of email and crap battery life that stops corporations from buying this.

    We don't need Angry Birds. We need a tablet that can handle Exchange emails in a SECURE corporate environment. Period, full stop. Add those things and it will outsell iPads by at least twice.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Jesus H. Corbett

    "One reason that the iPad needs apps is because Flash isn't allowed and because Flash is so pervasive online."

    Seriously, do you guys ever make use of this thing called 'memory'? Recall, if you can, 2007, when Jobs introduced the original iPhone. Every developer out there was screaming about the lack of a native API. Apple had thought that everyone would develop web-apps, much like with the Palm Pre. Completely open. But no, developers wanted access to the native API's so badly a jailbreaking scene erupted. And now, Apple has built the only profitable App store, and somehow it's all the fault of not supporting Flash, a technology that only now, with dual-core mobiles, can be technically used. I say technically, because all that 'pervasive' Flash stuff on the internet can't be used on a device that has no mouse or keyboard.

    Idiot

  19. DelDino
    Welcome

    Pretty good review...

    I own a Playbook which I am quite happy with, after trying the rest I think it is the best tablet out there right now for the basics: web browsing, video, and general speed/stability, with bonuses if you already own a Blackberry phone. Honeycomb 3.1 will probably solve the current Android tablet issues, and WebOS is intriguing and seemingly quite similar, but those aren't available.

    Agree with the bemusement about the ad campaign, they should be focusing on the strengths of the device rather than throwing rocks at glass houses from inside a glass house.

    Few quibbles though.

    The complaint about a few hours of battery life is not what I've experienced, I always get a day out of it even with 3-4h of solid use. Standby time is not infinite as the wi-fi is always on - a current quirk with the OS which has positives and negatives. Positive being that you can share files with it easily over wi-fi which the author must not have known about, and which will be really good when the promised DLNA support is added. http://www.blackberry.com/btsc/search.do?cmd=displayKC&docType=kc&externalId=KB26068 .

    Would be nice if that would be configurable though.

    Lack of 'native email' is always one that gets me scratching my head, as Blackberry email requires a specific telco operator data plan for BIS or BES service, and this is just a wi-fi model. They could easily have provided a simple POP/Outlook email client, but that would have be misconstrued as 'secure Blackberry email', which it isn't. Fault them for being slow on releasing the 3 and 4G models that will connect BIS/BES, but 'native email' doesn't seem like a valid complaint.

    Oh, and there is a Facebook app, if that floats your boat.

    Overall, a good tablet, which is getting better with frequent OS/app updates, but also needs to get better to keep up with the competition.

  20. Richard1111

    Missing points

    1. Why are you using the mobile version of Gmail? You can use the full version easy.

    2. Yes there is a Facebook app, and it the first Tablet to get one.

    3. Nothing is suck on your playbook as it shows up as network share, meaning it work for Mac, Linux, Unix and Windows, even when it's powered off. That's why you get more battery drain that the IPAD which does nothing. You can copy movies over your wireless network while watching another movie and then outputting it to your TV using the HDMI cable, and then also surf the net, because you can display one thing out on the HDMI and display something totally different on the playbook. Yes you can do all 3 things at the same time and when the move finishes copying, it just shows up in your play list. You try sync 30gig of movies on your IPAD... it sucks, and you can do anything while it doing it.

    4. My Playbook lasted 3-4 days without a charge... would have been longer, but it's hard to not want to play with the playbook.

  21. Tim Parker

    Browser

    "The web seen through the PlayBook's browser: What would Tim Berners-Lee think?"

    Apart from anything else, i'd imagine he might be thinking "why the hell is the browser using up 40% of the screen for non-content ?"

    I love QNX dearly, but this tablet sounds like a right pigs ear.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      iPad

      Surely that is the reason iPads sell so well? they don't cock it up and leave out such essential features. Not to mention generally better battery life and the price being cheaper or the same as the competition, oh and a 3G version from launch, not "coming soon when we can be bothered".

      Flash isn't that essential, if it was then it would have been available in the browser as a plugin for smartphones 5 years ago instead of just emerging from beta now. Standalone Flash lite players don't count.

    2. wayne 8 Bronze badge

      Lack of native email - enterprise security

      The Playbook is designed to be used in conjunction with the inevitable BB smartphone already in use. The enteprise email is locked down and is only synched to the Playbook. The user can do everything with the emails except natively send/receive. The secure Blackberry Bridge is used to link the BB smartphone and the Playbook.

      I am not endorsing the device or the process, this is an explanation based on vendor training.

    3. Daniel 4
      Thumb Down

      Disinformation is not nice :(

      > 2. Yes there is a Facebook app, and it the first Tablet to get one.

      This is misdirection at best, and an outright lie at worst. While it is technically true that Facebook has not released an "official iPad" Facebook app, they have had an iPhone Facebook app for sometime which they keep regularly updated. As you would expect, this app runs just fine on an iPad.

      So, in essence, the iPad has had a Facebook app since before RIM's Playbook was ever released. I won't make any claims as to relative quality between the two apps (I neither own nor have easy access to a Playbook, and I don't use Facebook, so have no real standard of what to expect from a "Facebook app.") However, to say that the Playbook is "the first tablet to have a Facebook app" without even a nod to the iPad is more than slightly disingenuous.

      -d

    4. Justin Clements

      History

      It's called reinventing history. It happens a lot these days.

  22. John. C
    Megaphone

    Battery life

    The reason of your poor battery life might have to do with the Video chat app. A lot of playbook users have had the same problem. the solution, however, is very simple. Just start the app, and accept e agreement. That's it. The battery life is pretty good, it could last a solid 8 hours of continual use.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who gives a crap about

    Apps? 350,000 apps? Are you kidding me? Why is having 350,000 apps a good thing? I can't even think of 350,000 things, let alone apps.

    As far as I can tell only people who don't have anything better to do spend all day downloading and playing with apps.

  24. flying_walrus
    Jobs Halo

    Adobe's fault, not Teh Steve's.

    Repeating things over and over does not make them true.

    Steve's famous rant against Adobe came after waiting _years_ for them to deliver a working IOS version of flash. (for that matter, a working Mac OS or Linux port would be nice. Just saying.)

    When they finally gave him one, it was as buggy and CPU hogging as the rest of their non-windows implementations. Also, the UI still thought it had a mouse attached.

    Hands up, anyone who's used flash on a touchscreen and found it intuitive.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    More facts wrong

    You mention a "thumb drive" for transferring files, but the USB port is not currently used for that, so that was never an option for you. On the other hand, you also just said you need BlackBerry Bridge to transfer files between your PC and PlayBook, which is wildly false. You can transfer directly over either WiFi or USB, both by accessing the PlayBook as a (Samba) network share. That's far easier than using a thumb drive or the bridge (and the bridge isn't for use with your PC anyway).

    Also, the battery life issue you had is certainly the known issue with not having accepted the Video Chat app's agreement. Yes, it's a silly, stupid bug for them to have let out, but battery life is far better than the 3-4h you got as a result. I get a solid 7-8h each day, possibly longer. Note that an idle/sleeping/standby PlayBook, even with WiFi enabled, will last on 6-7 days.

  26. kosh
    Thumb Down

    flash? TBL?

    Flash is the opposite of the Web. TBL, rolling in his grave.

    At least you found out why flash is terrible on tablets for yourself.

  27. kosh

    toy computer name

    If they wanted to market it as a professional tablet, they need a less Fisher-Price name.

    Can't believe they missed the opportunity to call it the BlackBook. Chumps.

    1. Pet Peeve
      Facepalm

      pseudocide

      Tim Berners-Lee isn't dead, so won't be rolling in any graves, unless he's into that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Toys...

      A RIM PlayBook sounds more like an "adult" toy....

      Especially with a bit of flash.

      (Paris, just because)

    3. brinkmanjg
      WTF?

      Really?

      Pretty sure TBL is not rolling in his grave because he is, you know, not dead.

  28. Mikel

    Flash or Apps, choose one?

    Sorry, no deal. I got my Transformer today. It's got both Flash AND Apps. And it was only $399 US. Good luck getting one though: they're sold out, or using it if you do - I can't pry mine away from the kids.

    It does Citrix just great - a 2 minute deal and I'm using all my Office apps like it's a PC. I didn't have to rebuy all my Android Market content: it just downloaded and played. 10.1" IPS widescreen dual-core Tegra2 Honeycomb goodness and 1080p HDMI out. 10 hour battery life. OMG this thing is so fast. Freedom from the Jobsian Cathedral = bliss.

    There are some minor downsides so far. I have to buy the keyboard to get USB ports, but I can live with that as it's only $150 more and doubles the battery life. There is not yet Netflix, though I hear it's coming and for now I can get it through RDP. It doesn't have 4G/3G, though that's a plus for me because I can't see re-paying for a mobile wireless contract with every device when you can just tether, and if I don't have 802.11G I am driving and probably shouldn't be using it anyway. It doesn't run Garage Band or iMovie and it probably never will except as a remote desktop to an extant Mac - but that's ok: I have a MacServer for that. The cameras aren't best for just about everything, but I have a D90 and a LiveCam so if I need to take a picture or skype I've got that covered elsewhere and in a pinch the included cams are just good enough to do the needful.

    Hundreds of thousands of apps and Flash too. More pixels than an iPad2, and more RAM, faster processor and better video as well. A real keyboard and genuine USB host ports if you need them. HD Video, Kindle Books and all the rest. Sideloaded apps. It's pretty much straight win. Asus is going to have trouble ramping production to meet demand on this one. I won't call it the iPad Killer - that would be trite already, and besides the quad core KalEl chipset is expected for Christmas. But if an Apple tablet isn't your thing you might look at the Transformer before the Playbook, or anything else right now if you can get one.

    Now let me tell you about Unreal Game Engine apps like Dungeon Defenders HD... No, you probably don't even want to know.

  29. N13L5
    Pint

    I do wish amateur hour really was over...

    I will know when Amateur hour is over,

    Thats when tablets incorporate the kind of productivity technology Microsoft has long ago shown in its Courier Prototype Tablet device. (not talking about having 2 screens necessarily, just that sort of software.

    So far, Tablets are ok at media consumption and bad at productivity. A Tablet nailed to a wall with active speakers hooked up makes a great audio/video playback device. They are alright for browsing and reading the news. But everything else is a pain in comparison to a real computer.

    (People without touch-typing skill might disagree, I guess.)

    Amateur hour in the hardware area of tablets will be over when we get Tablets with:

    Edge to edge screens, not 1" fat bezels.

    Inductive plug-free charging

  30. N13L5
    Go

    This will end amateur hour...

    http://youtu.be/UmIgNfp-MdI

    no, i'm not an M$ fan, especially because of it: they floated it, it was brilliant and then they let it die... idiots...

  31. El Insultor

    Sarcasm?

    Hi :)

    I might be wrong, but I'm tending to read the whole review as delightfully sarcastic. Am I right? I can't imagine how Berners-Lee dreamed of a web sequestered by a closed (no matter that there's a "standard" published just for the show) format such as Flash, which is effectively a barrier of entry for new platforms. I mean, of course, all that Flash crap.

    Or were you serious?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So essentially

    If Apple decided to finally support Flash they would own and completely shut out the rest of the tablet market, expect for very low cost (and let's be honest, a bit rubbish) devices?

    Interesting...

    Well I'm glad they don't support Flash then, wouldn't like Apple to be the only game around.

  33. Maty

    Business device?

    If a device uses Adobe it will be hacked. Sooner rather than later.

    Not a good idea for a business machine.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    flash makes a difference

    I have the iPad 1. I am waiting for a good IPAD alternative with flash support, as I am fed up with browsing the internet on the toilet only to come across some news in flash format. Apple will sell loads of IPAD 2s regardless, but at least 1 less due to their annoying stance on flash support.

  35. Andy Watt
    WTF?

    "playbook" origins...?

    My wife worked for GE for a while in the UK, and the annual "growth report" was referred to as a "playbook". My guess is this is carried through from NFL football. Which actually is the same argument as the other guys here are making - that the name has no useful international meaning. This is also an American trait, isn't it - forgetting the rest of the world exists when making The Big Decision. RIM shot...

    I'm heartened to see how many other people shot this article full of holes. The rhetorical strength of it reminded me ofnthe little blue question mark blocks I get on this iPad when browsing sites with Flash in.

    It's all been said... Battery life, flash, control of the run loop (very elegantly put btw)... This is the reality of portable devices: you have limited resources, and if you just let devs go nuts you'll end up with flat batteries and p!ssed off customers.

  36. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Meh.

    If it doesn't connect to my BES and deliver me proper email then it's of no interest to me, just like the iFad. I'll stick with my BB and a netbook.

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