RIM’s PlayBook – Mixing Work With Pleasure

If you’ve never heard of the PlayBook before, then this post will provide you with a nice (understandable) summary!

In September, I won tickets to RIM’s Devcon 2010 Conference in San Francisco. Low and behold, it coincided with TEDxTO and I (sadly) had to give up my tickets. Have no fear – even though this was when RIM first formally introduced the PlayBook to the public, I still had my fun with it.

On my way to Toronto, I picked up a copy of the Globe and Mail and decided to write my synthesis report on RIM’s PlayBook. I mean, there was really nothing else that was THAT fascinating at the time anyways. I read a couple of articles and did some more digging around.

Many of friends are not tech-savvy at all, and I wouldn’t say that I am 100% either…BUT, my passion for the industry and eagerness to learn is starting to pay off! To be honest, I have been following RIM for the past 11 months. Maybe more, but the tech industry is VERY INTRIGUING and it’s coming right at YOU!  That said, I suggest you start getting into the loop…that is, if you want to be more effective and efficient in your personal/academic/work life! It’s revolutionizing the way we communicate ideas, connect with people, collaborate, etc. (That’s a whole other essay in itself!)

So… (as mentioned above), I wrote a synthesis report on RIM’s PlayBook, and thought I would share it. If you’ve never heard of the PlayBook before, then this post will provide you with a nice (understandable) summary!


Mixing Work With Pleasure – RIM’s PlayBook Has Much Potential
Topic: Technology
Date: Oct 6, 2010

Disclaimer: It’s a little scattered because I was under a little time pressure when writing this…my apologies! I have, however, included a bibliography with links at the bottom for you to refer to the actual articles. I have also included some other links for your personal interest.

Note: Since Oct2010, more info has been released about the PlayBook. This particular article compares the PlayBook to the iPad (Apple) and Galaxy (Samsung)


The market for tablets is slowly on the rise and as more data from technology companies is revealed to the public, analysts will be able to more accurately speculate the success of the tablet industry. For now, it is estimated that “tablets could become a $40-billion (U.S.) market over the next few years” (Akka & Marlow, 2010). This report investigates the latest gadget, the PlayBook, introduced by Research In Motion (RIM) last week and is intended to generate a positive point of view on its success. Data is taken from different newspapers, namely, The Globe and Mail and The Wall Street Journal. Articles to be used include: Omar El Akkad and Iain Marlow’s “RIM Takes a Page From Apple for New PlayBook,” Omar El Akkad’s “RIM Plays Catch-up to Apple with PlayBook – But with a New Ally,” Iain Marlow’s “PlayBook Helps RIM’s Outlook with Analysts,” and Juro Osawa’s “Tablet Makers Bring Rivalry to Japan.”

RIM’s PlayBook Still Has Much Potential

Currently, the strongest market player in the tablet industry is Apple, and so far it has sold “three million iPads in the U.S. in its first 80 days on sale” (Marlow, 2010). This is good news for RIM, as the PlayBook presents an opportunity for them to play up its competitive advantage, appealing “to consumers… [while also offering] the security that corporate and government customers want” (Akka & Marlow, 2010). RIM is positioning the PlayBook as a “must-have for consumers and businesses” and seeks to maintain the “balance of work and play…in virtually every aspect.” With its latest powerful operating system designed by ONX, the PlayBook is not only opening a platform to generate revenue through its advertising service, but also becoming a business staple (Marlow, 2010). “Any device that’s expected to sell tens of millions of units must cater to consumer and enterprise” (Akkad, 2010).

RIM’s PlayBook will be pre-loaded with two identities – one for corporate and one for consumer – and through its publicized features, there is a clear indication that this product has been aimed to exploit the weaknesses of Apple’s iPad (Akkad, 2010). A few key features include: multi-tasking; ability to record videos and take photos; and the ability to run Adobe Systems Inc.’s Flash, which allows for high-definition video and video conferencing. These features are designed to appeal to the consumer and give additional functionality to its users. For the gaming-lovers, the PlayBook will be a viable option for “formidable mobile gaming and entertainment” (Akka & Marlow, 2010). As for RIM’s corporate clientele, the PlayBook will have the ability to integrate with BlackBerry smart phones and continue to offer its stringent security settings, such as “message encryption and integration with the same enterprise servers that run the BlackBerry’s secure communication” (Akka & Marlow, 2010).

While RIM’s recent acquisition of the software firm, QNX, has been a powerful asset to the company, the success of the PlayBook will depend heavily on the applications created by developers. In its recent developer’s conference, RIM instilled a sense of confidence to potential application developers and expressed significant support by stating that “[it] may soon gain ground on Apple and Google platforms in terms of compelling apps” (Marlow, 2010). With that said, there is still little evidence at the present time, to know how well this statement is received by the developers. What we do know is that the “QNX is becoming the most important piece of RIM’s future” (Akkad, 2010) and it will be crucial for any developer to understand this system well, as the series of next-gen BlackBerrys will be using this “cutting-edge software… [to offer] a broader app experience, along with unique services and partnerships” (Marlow, 2010).

Reasons to Suggest Why RIM`s PlayBook Might Not Succeed

Despite RIM’s positive outlook on its PlayBook launch, there is still some reason to believe that it may not do very well once it is released into the market early next year, 2011. Looking back at RIM’s smart phone market, its shares have dropped nearly 30 per cent this year and this is in a global industry it once owned. Now RIM is trying to enter the “tablet war…almost one year behind,” causing the public to question whether or not it can survive in an environment of powerful competitors, which includes Apple Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Sharp Corp., etc. (Osawa, 2010) In addition, “RIM’s dominance, based on the enterprise market, has yet to translate into similar success with consumers” and RIM’s share in this market will depend heavily on application developers and content partners to bring unique experiences to the platform” (Akka & Marlow, 2010). This reliance poses a grey area towards its success, at present, and while RIM will almost be a year behind in the tablet market by the time the PlayBook is released, the general trend in the industry is seeing Android-based tablets become more widespread (Osawa, 2010).


Although there are reasons that suggest RIM’s PlayBook is out for risky journey, the emerging competitive landscape of the tablet industry is an environment where RIM has the ability to flourish. Capitalizing on its unique enterprise servers and significantly enhanced entertainment features, separating itself from Apple’s iPad, RIM has a future in both the corporate and consumer markets and is taking significant effort to capture its share. Regardless of where application developers currently stand, it is evident that RIM now owns one of the most powerful pieces of software that will not only contribute to its future product lines, but will also migrate across the BlackBerry platform (Akkad, 2010). Consumers can now only wait until 2011 to see how the tablet war will be played out.

Works Cited

Akka, O. E., & Marlow, I. (2010, September 28). Technology. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/rim-takes-a-page-from-apple-for-new-playbook/article1729306/

Akkad, O. E. (2010, September 29). Reports on Business. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/technology/rim-plays-catch-up-with-playbook-but-with-a-new-ally/article1731344/

Marlow, I. (2010, September 29). Investing. Retrieved September 29, 2010, from The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/playbook-puts-rim-back-in-the-game/article1731285/

Osawa, J. (2010, October 5). Asia Technology. Retrieved October 5, 2010, from The Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703726404575533681022104468.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews

Other links of interest:

Samsung Galaxy Tab Coming to AT&T November 21 for $649 [RUMOR]

RIM’s PlayBook Tablet to Sell for Under $500

How the Tablets Stack Up

5 Way iPad Kills RIM’s PlayBook

RIM’s BBM Develops Social Powers


2 thoughts on “RIM’s PlayBook – Mixing Work With Pleasure

  1. Pau

    Nice article. A few small mistakes but overall a good read. The biggest thing I’d point out is that Nokia were the global leaders in the smartphone market until recently, not RIM. Nokia, unfortunately, always did poorly in the American market but were the dominant force everywhere else. I’m in the market for a tablet so I’m trying to get all the viewpoints of the new tablets excluding Apple and I prefer individual accounts to big site reviews where possible. As it stands I’m favouring an Android tablet as I’ve owned three smartphones running it and own an early tablet but the PlayBook is an interesting second option given the ridiculously high prices of the upcoming Android Honeycomb tablets.

  2. Paul

    Oops, that’s what I get for typing on a tablet in a very poor browser (Firefox 4 is awful and crashed on me!) The name should be Paul, not Pau….. lol

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