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  • legoman666 - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    No email client? Really? Is that a joke? Reply
  • Ethaniel - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    For now it seems, but that's clearly a sample unit. All I keep reading is "needs tuning" and "needs optimization", ergo, it's not ready, and they're going to launch it anyway. Those updates will have to be lightning-fast. I don't want to pay 500 dollars to be a beta tester... Reply
  • SimKill - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    I'm actually surprised. This is because my cousin in India said that his friend in Dubai already bought it and has it for quite some time. Do you think there might be a reason why they are purposely delaying the American release? Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Probably, someone is lying about it, or they've gotten some illegally obtained
    Reduction model much as what happened the Apple's iPhone 4.

    It's first being released in N. america, according to RIM.
  • vol7ron - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Why does everyone want to price around Apple? The more I look at these devices, the more I'm likely to get the color-nook and put Droid on it. Surely the hardware would be lacking, but the functionality would still be ballpark.

    16GB for $500 is ridiculous. These base models need to be in the $250-300 range.
  • michael2k - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Um, the raw materials for the iPad is about $260, meaning you can't expect to buy a 16gb tablet from any manufacturer, especially one with less buying power than Apple, for much less than $400 or so.

    From the iPad 2:
    Display is $127
    Flash is about $66 for 32gb, $35 for 16gb
    Case & Battery is about $60
    Mobo+Camera is about $60

    So for any 10" tablet the cost if they gave it away for free would be $282 or so. Your nook "cheaps out" by having a 7" screen, only 8gb storage, a slower CPU, no cameras, and a much smaller battery. It only gets 8 hours with wifi off, the iPad 2 gets 11 hours with wifi on!

    In other words you're only paying $180 worth of HW in the Nook, while the iPad gets you two 1GHz cores vs a 800MHz core, 11h of battery vs less than 8 hours, 10" and 1024x768 vs 7"@1024x600, 16gb vs 8gb, and of course, no guarantee of OS updates. You're complaint is ridiculous, actually, since almost no other manufacturer has been able to beat Apple on price yet except the Acer Iconia.
  • quiksilvr - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    As much as I despise Apple, I have to agree to an extent. Yes that price is quite hefty, but if Apple didn't have it's cult following, it would have easily been on sale for $399. But thanks to idiot consumers, they can bump it up a Benjamin. Reply
  • michael2k - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    And no one else can order in vast enough quantities to hit the $399 price. Reply
  • mcnabney - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    I am starting to doubt the iSupply numbers you quoted.

    They price the very nice 9.7" IPS screen that Apple uses at $129 while the clearly inferior non-IPS screen the XOOM uses at $140. Their memory prices are also highly suspect, clinging to $2/GB for what are still really small drives compared where higher performing SSDs already are. I would guess that NAND prices for tablets are under $1/GB wholesale and in quantity.
  • michael2k - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Apple orders literally 2m 9.7" IPS screens a month, probably 40m this year alone. That gives them bulk purchasing power no one else has except the manufacturer of said screens.

    Motorola has to pay market prices, while Apple can literally buy an entire factory's output.

    It doesn't help that the Japanese earthquake halted LCD production at major plants, either!

    As for SSD chips, Apple is paying a premium to get density. The low end iPad has only a single SSD 16GB chip. The mid range iPad has one or two, and the high end has two 32GB chips. As soon as prices are good or capacity is good, I'm sure Apple will use a single 32gb chip on the low end, two 32gb chips for the middle, and 2 64gb chips on the high end.
  • name99 - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    "I am starting to doubt the iSupply numbers you quoted."

    And I am starting to doubt that your contrary opinions are of much value.

    "Their memory prices are also highly suspect, clinging to $2/GB for what are still really small drives compared where higher performing SSDs already are."

    (a) The price here is for STORAGE, not memory as you call it.

    (b) The issue is that Apple wants flash that is low power, not high performance. This probably means that want flash that works at low voltage.
    This is not trivial --- as evidenced by the fact that pretty much EVERY SSD vendor is incapable of shipping a drive that can write reliably at USB power levels.

    If the market for low power flash is different from the market for high performance (and high peak power) flash, then comparing prices as you are doing makes no sense.
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  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    That is kinda sad. I find the tablet market a bit of a mystery still. The hardware is either loaded and expensive, or cheaply made junk. The software is still in limbo. I wanted to try a tablet without much risk, so I ended upgetting a Nook Color and a microSD card and went through the mod community. If all fails, its still a good dreaded, but its actually been a lot of fun trying all the mods. Can't wait to see a good build of HC for it, as the prerelease build isn't too bad already. A prefect tablet? No, but the specs are decent, the screen is great, and the cost was very acceptable. :) Reply
  • MonkeyPaw - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    LoL. Dreaded = e reader. Nice spell check android! :D Reply
  • eliotw - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    They are clearly prioritizing the corporate market that is their bread and butter. I'd never buy this for myself but the "too big to fail" bank I work for could deploy these quickly with the bridge features. That wouldn't be possible with iOS or Android. This isolation capability is impressive but I it still seems like they are releasing it with too many things missing. Reply
  • Spivonious - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    For business users yes, but I think most home users (aka non-techies) use web mail and wouldn't be too bothered. Reply
  • PeteH - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The problem is that RIMM appears to be primarily targeting business users. Maybe their thinking is that business users will have their Blackberry on them anyway, making an application unnecessary, but it seems like a big oversight to me. Reply
  • galuple - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    It's a corporate security thing. Corporate types very serious about security. No email client means that if one of these gets lost, it doesn't have sensitive documents on it since it's all on the blackberry. Reply
  • Kiddo2050 - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I could care less. This is aimed at Blackberry users as of now, and I am one. With Blackberry Bridge this is a none issue.

    Sorry, but I just can't go for Apple and it's closed app eco system (the AOL of today). I've had numerous apple products (everything except the ipad in fact) and I just got so sick of plugging everything into iTunes. Just tired of that company ripping me off left right and center. Here's the "New" Macbook Pro, yes it's already out of date in terms of specs but you don't care because it's Apple. Sure my Blackberry phone is not cutting edge but the point is no one at RIM pretends it is. The iPad2 was rolled out as the hotest new tablet and they didn't say anything about the RAM which was sub par - "just don't tell our consumers they won't know." No thanks Steve, iPad2 and Apple = FAIL start caring about your customers instead of screwing them every chance you get.
  • zephyros - Thursday, April 21, 2011 - link

    it's true but so wat? apple came out without cut and paste before...why is everyone so surprised? it's how they fix the issue and how fast that matters. at least they know about it and came out mentioning it instead of letting customers find out themselves Reply
  • Ethaniel - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    ... great job, Anand. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    Did you have anything running in the background there? Gizmodo and Engadget both got within 10% of the iPad 2's score, the one here seems to be much slower.

    Anyways, as usual this is easily one of the best reviews.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    This may be a sunspider 0.9 vs. 0.91 issue, RIM said the same thing but 0.9 for some reason gives us the scores you see on the PlayBook vs. the competition (just re-ran again to be sure).

    I'm still waiting for a response from RIM as to why the relative performance comparison is much worse under 0.9. We've stuck with 0.9 to maintain backwards compatibility with our older smartphone numbers but if need be I'll switch over to 0.91 for tablets.

    I'm running 0.91 numbers now, let's see what I come up with.

    Thanks for reading and your kind words :)

    Take care,
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    This is definitely a 0.9.1 vs. 0.9.0 issue. I'm not sure what is causing the PlayBook to choke on 0.9.0. I will update the article with 0.9.1 numbers as well.

    Take care,
  • 8steve8 - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    very high black levels on the screen is disappointing. (samoled/samoled+ is amazing)

    Also the bezel looks like its a huge percentage of the surface area, which is ugly.

    7" seems to be the worst size, too big for pockets, too small for ideal consumption of entertainment or web.

    The Base OS seems decent, although without email or calendar, we will have to give this another look in august.

    That said, I still find tablets a niche device that few situations actually call for. Usually I find myself wanting a physical keyboard, or at least more screen space while typing. Also if you have to constantly hold it up, or buy a stand, why not use little laptops laptops, the screens don't need a stand : )

    I find it a good device for a coffee table or any profession where you are standing/not at a table. Otherwise I'll stick to smartphone/laptop or desktop.
  • Solandri - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The contrast ratio is the same as the iPad 2, so the high black levels is an artifact of the high white levels. In other words, if you turned down the brightness to match the max brightness of the iPad 2, the black levels should be the same as on the iPad 2.

    Along the same lines, I'm wondering what was the brightness setting during the battery tests. Usually reviewers do something like set brightness to half during the battery tests. But that seems a bit unfair since the Playbook's screen is so much brighter than the competition's. Wouldn't a more fair comparison be to set its brightness output to be the same number of nits as the iPad 2 in its battery test? In effect, think of the screen as the same as the iPad 2, but with the option to really crank up the brightness if you're outdoors in sunlight.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    So our old method was to set everything to 50%, but lately I've been doing brightness matching right around ~150 nits on these tablets.

    Take care,
  • HilbertSpace - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    Conclusion page:

    "I'm glad to see RIM experimenting with form factors. After using the Galaxy Tab 8.9 at CTIA I felt that may be the perfect balance between portability and functionality. The 7-inch PlayBook "

    - something got mixed up there.
  • Aikouka - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    I wonder if the browser would be better if you had the option to hide the menu/address bar? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    You actually do have the option to hide the menu/address bar, it's in the upper right corner of the browser. That does improve things but it also makes it less convenient to navigate to the next website.

    Take care,
  • jjj - Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - link

    In the final words it would be worth reminding readers that it has no SD card slot, IMO a fundamental feature for phones/tablets nowdays. Reply
  • Azethoth - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    That is a curious statement. What do you want lots of memory for?

    I can see memory being better for a phone that you listen to music from as more memory = more of your (compressed) library can fit on it. Personally I only sync particular playlists to my phone / iPad anyway.

    As for other stuff, well apps just do not consume a large amount of space. For my iPad 2 I went with the smallest memory size. The larger size I have on my original, er I mean on my sister's "new" iPad, was just a waste for me.
  • Chloiber - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Because it's an easy way to share things and upgrade your memory if you need more. I won't pay 100$ for 16GB of NAND flash (which cost's like 15$). Reply
  • jjj - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    For a device that can shoot and play 1080p video 16GB-64GB of storage is very little (and anything above 16GB is way too costly) Then there are also photos,music,apps that maybe soon will be actually able to do things and become bigger,it is after all a computing device and even if smartphones/tablets are in their infancy we can still hope that they mature sooner rather than later. Reply
  • BuffyzDead - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    "The screen is too small to comfortably read in portrait mode and even in landscape things can get a bit cramped." Steve Jobs already warned the entire industry on this point. It's too small to be a successful tablet. Everyone has portability in their Smartphone.

    "Apple's A5 still has a much faster GPU" .and the playbook isn't even shipping yet

    "App launches are unfortunately a bit high latency. .....whole process takes a couple of seconds but it feels longer than firing up similar iOS or Honeycomb apps." just throw more CPU at the problem. You know, down the road.

    "With no email or calendar apps, the PlayBook doesn't have a whole lot to notify you of. Presently the only notifications the PlayBook will deliver have to do with remaining battery capacity." LOL at this one.

    I predict Now, this thing will never sell in volume. Even improved versions down the road won't sell.
    3 reasons:
    1) It's too small.
    2) The User Experience does not even come close to that of the iPad1
    3) NO APPS

    Yes, while there are company's that may force this down their employees throat, that is not where the growth of tablet use is coming from, in enterprise.

    It's coming 100% from employees wanting to use their iPad's in the work environment.

    You finish with:
    "there are still more revolutions that will take place between now and when the mobile market finally matures"

    Ask yourself, Honestly, is there ANYTHING about this "experiment for RIM"
    that has an inkling of REVOLUTION ????
  • Azethoth - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The proper quote is:
    "While Apple and Google are clearly out to a substantial lead, there are still more revolutions that will take place between now and when the mobile market finally matures. I'm not saying that Apple or Google won't end up on top, I'm just saying that it's not guaranteed they will either."
    "The PlayBook is a reasonable experiment for RIM, but I need to see more to really recommend the tablet."

    See how in context Anand makes sense? Rather than claiming the ridiculous: "this RIM tablet is a revolution", Anand is merely saying that this is an immature industry. Everyone fully expects actual game changing revolutions in this area in the future.

    Search this site for Anand's excellent follow up to the iPad 2 release that asks: "How do I as a blogger use a tablet to create [text] content". There were some responses about maybe covers that double as keyboards. There was wishful thinking about voice input maturing real soon now. Mostly there is a need for some kind of interface revolution before a tablet can become a reasonable answer for a blogger on the go. These are the revolutions Anand needs in a tablet.
  • BuffyzDead - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Correct !
    I wholeheartedly agree with Anand's review and conclusion:
    There are no guarantee's what the future may hold and he can not recommend this Playbook.

    1) I wanted to add that this Playbook will in fact be a total failure. Time will prove me right or wrong. Again, I predict Total Failure.

    2) I wanted to point out how RIM, as is evident by this Playbook version 1,
    has demonstrated Zero in it's capability to provide ANY REVOLUTION.
    At most, it's an outright attempt to copy or emulate (poorly) what the iPad REVOLUTION IS.

    If you think that "designing a tablet" to cater to "the blogger on the go" is a measure of success, then I pray for RIM's sake, you are not on their design team.

    Anand has repeatedly pointed out how a tablet might just not be for him, in general.
    I have maintained for the past 15 months that the iPad's true REVOLUTION, is that it CREATED a NEW MARKET.

    ALL of Apples competitors are playing catchup & copycat to cater to that NEW MARKET, which the iPad CREATED.
  • SandmanWN - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    For real... lay off the coffee and Jobs shlong. Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    For real, it's the only tablet so far that sold more than a small number. As many others have pointed out, so far the tablet market is really the iPad market. Other manufacturers have to prove that they can sell a large number of devices. We know that the Tab, is not a real tablet by Google's standards, and that it sold in much smaller numbers than the number shipped to retailers and cell companies. The Xoom is assumed to have managed about 100,000 sales, and what else has there been that seriously competes?

    Now, the Playbook, which has been criticized by those in the industry for having poor battery life, and problems with the software before release, despite RIM,s denials, is proving, from all the reviews I've now read today, to be having all of those problems just days before release. Pogue has stated that RIM is feverishly sending out updated on a daily basis. That's not good.

    Other tablets won't arrive for at least a couple more months.

    So what does the market really consist of now?
  • melgross - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    It's hard to say. There are a lot of writers who have said that they type just fine on the iPad's virtual keyboard. Everyone's different. I remember a lot of people complaining about the first iPhone's keyboard, but since then, many, if not most new smartphones have no physical keyboards anymore, so people are getting used to them.

    I'm typing on my iPad2 now. The only complaints about the way Apple set it up are that I think that too much space is wasted on the two large numeric keyboard call up keys at the bottom of the keyboard, much of which could have been used for other functions, such as an "@" key, for instance. Otherwise, it's fine. On a 7" screen, typing for longer periods will be more problematical.
  • yelped - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Stop trolling, and PLEASE grow up.

  • PeeluckyDuckee - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The Android platform UI is very unpleasant to work with and an eye sore, looks like something from yesteryears. The hardware supporting it is slow and lag is quite apparent, whether that is a software or hardware issue doesn't matter as in the end the user experience leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

    Apps is a non issue imo as time goes on it will slowly come. The major titles will be available cross platform. I buy it for what it offers me now, I don't rely solely on what will come later.

    The QNX UI is very smooth and true multitasking is available. 7" form factor is perfect for my needs. Battery life is less of an issue as it will be rarely transported, but if I do need it for extended periods outside of the house it'll be either plugged into the car charger, into my USB battery pack, or plugged into the USB charger in the plane.

    5" is too small and 12" is too big for me, so I will eventually have the best of both worlds and juggle between the 7" Playbook and the 10" iPad 2. Both are priced cheap enough that it doesn't have to be mutually exclusive, considering how much laptops/desktops/tablets used to cost it's a no brainer.
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    If you expected anybody to read your post, you shouldn't have destroyed your credibility with your opening sentence. Reply
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    It seems like many of the Tablets (and even phones in some cases) these days are being rushed out. I can understand the rush to get a product to market to try and grab market share early before competing products get to well entrenched, but coming out with a product that is short of features seems like it could be just as bad.

    Take WP7 for instance, in general it has some good concepts, but is missing a lot of features, as well as a usable browser. Updates will fix this, but the initial reviews have hurt it I think.

    Then you have Android 3.0 which only works on Tablets, and has issues with them as it is. It was definitely rushed out to try and grab some market share before Apple gets much more entrenched.

    Then we have this device, which has some cool features, but many features that will not be available until sometime this summer.

    I realize the companies have to found a balance between getting a product out and finishing it, but it seems in some cases its cut too close. And we end up with a product that could have been great if only it had spent a bit more time in development.

    On a side note, I do NOT like the screen on this device. Its way to narrow. I would not enjoy having a screen with that aspect ratio.
  • xype - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    "It seems like many of the Tablets (and even phones in some cases) these days are being rushed out."

    Just shows how much of a lead Apple actually has with the iPad. Most of the stuff out by now can't even compete with iPad 1, much less 2.

    And even _when_ they get some small details right, it's the overall experience that makes the iPad's competition suffer.

    Also, I quite like iPad's 4-finger-gestures for multitasking—too bad you have to set up your iPad as a development device to activate the preference in the first place…
  • medi01 - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    No "confusing" memory card slots, eh? Reply
  • melgross - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The problem with memory slots are that what happens to your data and apps when you want to add another card? Usually you can't do that, you're stuck with what you've got, because part of the app resides on the card, and the rest in built in memory. So show lose the card, or it gets damaged, and you're in trouble.

    Manufacturers are using slots to make their devices look less expensive,
    Urging the responsibility on the buyer to spend the extra cash to expand their memory. The problem is that most people, even those who are technically adept (or who pretend to be), don't realize that cheap Flash memory cards are a lot slower than the Flash inside their device. In order to keep the speed, they've got to buy more expensive memory cards. They haven't really saved much, if anything, if they do that. I'd rather pay upfront, and know that what I'm using is what I'm supposed to be using.
  • silverblue - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The date format of the video of the dog is in YYYY-MM-DD format... sorry, I just enjoy seeing non-American date formats for once. :)

    It's a promising tablet design, but they've got a way to go before it can be a true competitor to the iPad 2. The lack of an e-mail client doesn't sit well with me, but the inclusion of 1080p High Profile H.264 support is excellent, and it's light.
  • Conficio - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I'm usually not that interested in video in such devices, but your sample videos could really use some image stabilization.

    On such a large device that should be mandatory.
  • Griswold - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    An otherwise very interesting product suffers from two shortfalls:

    1) Too small. As mentioned in the article, its a matter of what you do, where you do it and personal preference. Personally I prefer the 9-10" size.

    2) Its far from finished. Every other thing needs tning, tweaking, polishing or is completely missing. Why bother handing out review units, RIM? You're just damaging your products reputation!
  • GnillGnoll - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    "I've complained in the past about the input problem on tablets, and I do believe it's actually worse on the PlayBook thanks to its cramped screen resolution."

    While higher resolution might help a little by allowing text to be slightly smaller while keeping it legible, this is really about area not resolution. You can't make the on-screen keyboard or address bar much smaller physically without significantly affecting their touch usability.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    You're very right, clarified! :)

    Take care,
  • Targon - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I will note that the idea of using gestures that originate in the bezel seems to be an evolution of the Palm(now owned by HP) gesture area on the Palm Pre and the other WebOS based smartphones. Yes, the tablet lets you use any bezel, but as I said, this is an evolution of the concept that Palm implemented with the gesture area.

    Since the HP Touchpad will not have a dedicated gesture area, it will be interesting to see how things play out going forward in the tablet space.
  • melgross - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    But do the gestures really extend into the bezel area, or do they really just start at the first pixel your finger encounters when swiping from beyond the edge of the screen? I think it's the latter. Swiping from the bezel just insures that your finger will be detected hitting that first pixel in the screen at the edge, which tells the OS that it's a special "bezel" gesture.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but it makes sense to me that that's how it works, then thinking that the entire bezel is gesture enabled with sensors, though it's possible.

    Perhaps Anand, can help here.
  • AnitaPeterson - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Mate, you wrote so many pages, but eschewed some of the most important questions.

    1) You discuss the screen, but make no mention of the technology - is it IPS? is it TN? As for the surface - is it polycarbonate? is it GorillaGlass?
    2) You discuss the USB, but make no mention of crucial use - does the Playbook have USB host capabilities? In other words, can you connect an external HDD to it (whether self-powered or externally powered) and read files from it?
    3) Since we mention USB and external storage, how about a peep about SD card support? Seriously... a review with nary a mention of additional/expandable storage?
    4) Why are you comparing it with the iPad and the Xoom, instead of comparing it with the only other real, usable device in its size class, namely the Galaxy Tab??? The Playbook is not for people who want large devices, who can get an iPad... Is it not clear that the size is one of the biggest factors at play here? You mention the Galaxy Tab exactly once, and make an intriguing statement that the Playbook is a bit larger... but when it comes to pictures, again you compare it with the Kindle (!??) and the iPad. Eh? the Kindle???

    I'm sorry to be harsh, but this is a rush job... just like the Playbook itself.
  • Lepton87 - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Have you even read the review? It answers two of your three questions. The tablet doesn't have an SD card slot and it doesn't have an USB port either. Your fist question still stands, I'm also curious what panel technology its screen uses. Reply
  • Pessimism - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Incorrect. It does have a USB port, and the review specifically states this when discussing available charging options. The poster was asking whether its possible to use a male-male USB cable to connect mass storage to it. Reply
  • Pessimism - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    of hearing everyone whine and complain about lack of matroska support. matroska has NO STANDING outside anime nuts who can't wrap their brains around a second file to contain subtitles. matroska is a tiny speck with no corporate backing, no manufacturer is going to dedicate development time or die space to support it. Reply
  • Penti - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Actually it has pretty good manufacturer standing now, it's supported by Sonic Solutions/divx, ArcSoft, CoreCodec and all the serious chipset manufacturers of media player chipsets and STB solutions. As well as support on BD-players and televisions coming along. Nero also has support for it btw. Even boxes like the Roku now supports local playback and MKV. (Roku XDS with USB) Also there is no die space needed it's just a container. Software is all that's needed. Nokia also added MKV support in Symbian^3. Reply
  • DesktopMan - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    "As you'll see in our video tests, the PlayBook is the first ARM based tablet we've used that can decode a 1080p H.264 High Profile video stream."

    I believe the Hard Kernel ODROID-A was the first on the market (though in limited availability), as it's using the Samsung Exynos 4210 SOC. Would be great to see a test of that, to see how well the Exynos drives a tablet. I have high hopes for it.
  • NCM - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    The ability to handle 1080p H.264 is technically impressive, but I have to wonder about its relevance to the intended business market. One might like that at home, although even there it seems to me to be a party trick.

    And speaking of business use, the idea of using webmail for that is of course a joke, especially on a mobile device that won't always have a live net connection. I'm sure we all understand that this really is a software timing problem, but still, a bit of an embarrassment for RIM.

    I'm not enticed by the 7" screen size, which is too big for the pocket and seems too small for good reading functionality. But one of the things we're seeing from the iPad's success is that people are coming up with their own uses for tablets, uses that weren't necessarily envisioned before they hit the market. Maybe that'll happen with the 7" devices too?
  • Andrew911tt - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    You have the Xoom at a price of $799 but you can get the 32 GB wifi version for $599
  • MTN Ranger - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    Excuse my off topic question.

    Anand, I notice you use Lafayette Village in your videos a lot. Do you live/work near there? We enjoy having drinks at the Village Grill and my wife loves the Upper Crust Bakery. I have taken photos there and think the architecture is great.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I'm not too far from there. It's the most interesting thing that I can photograph quickly outside of my dogs playing :)

    Take care,
  • jensend - Thursday, April 14, 2011 - link

    I'm serious- this is probably the best commercial OS out there. Of course, these days most people judge an OS mostly by its included applications and the collection of software written for it, which doesn't look so good for QNX, but as far as the actual OS is concerned QNX is extremely well designed. Reply
  • baba264 - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    I would tend to agree.

    I was very impressed upon reading all the nice features that this OS has and that are still lacking in mainstream PC OS.

    The the tight kernel, the sandboxing, the thread management, the corruption protection all of it sounded real nice. Of course since it wasn't the focus of the article, many question remain, especially performance wise, still it sounded like an impressive work.
  • vision33r - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    Because people are used to the iPhone / iPad and App Store being the standard.

    QNX is a good OS, it is tight and lean. There won't be a fragmentation problem like Android has.

    The only problem is that RIM will restrict the device's functionality so that it cannot replace a Blackberry device and risk losing lucrative smartphone sales.
  • B3an - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    "You can't really hover to expose controls with a touchscreen so what you end up doing is a lot of quick tapping to try and bring up controls, change the setting you want and get back to playing the video. It's frustrating and doesn't work all of the time. None of this is RIM's fault, but now that tablets are at the point where they can start to behave like notebook/desktops web developers will have to rethink the way they build websites. "

    I'm a web designer and specialise in interactive websites and apps, but touch screens have the ability to hold this area back and make it less elegant/messy for other devices with no touch.
    The problem is not with web sites designed for non-touch devices but the need for a touch device to support hover in some way. For instance this could be done if a touch screen could detect a finger hovering over an area of the screen within say half an inch of the screen surface. That could work well if done right.

    As sites get more interactive and advanced hover controls in the UI make more and more sense. because of interface complexity rises and the need for more buttons and stuff all over the place.
    The thing with Flash is that being as it's far more capable than HTML5 for interaction (and with pretty much anything else too) is that it's Flash that is more likely to use hover controls in some form. But some HTML5 things are stating to use it, like the default skinned Chrome HTML5 video player for instance. Hover just makes perfect sense for certain things and touch screens need to fix this, not us web designers.
  • ElementFire - Friday, April 15, 2011 - link

    This is a seriously well-wrought review. I'm especially glad you dedicated an entire section to Bridge, and addressed the free tethering question. As you stated, this is huge (assuming the carriers permit it), as it's the closest thing to truly unlimited browsing data plans (for no additional charge!) as we'll get now.

    It's a pity that Android apps need to be re-signed by RIM before they'll run. It makes sense from a security perspective (you don't want malicious apps running amok on an enterprise platform), but I'd have preferred if RIM had severely limited Android VM capability and allowed all apps to *try* to run, rather than requiring re-signing; the vast majority of Android app-developers won't have the impetus to resubmit their apps to yet another platform holder.

    The last point I wanted to make was video conferencing: it's a serious letdown to only ship with point-to-point video chat (and even then, only between PlayBook owners!). If you're aiming at the enterprise, I'd expect VoIP/SIP capability and the ability to run WebEx natively. Does the PlayBook support any implementation of Java Runtime Environment?
  • name99 - Saturday, April 16, 2011 - link

    "Pretty much no smartphone or tablet we've tested is particularly speedy over WiFi. Even the Motorola Xoom, at the top of our performance chart, manages a meager 36Mbps. Part of this has to do with the fact that all of these devices are power rather than performance optimized and part of it has to do with NAND performance limitations."

    Is this not simply a reflection that none of these devices use 40MHz wide channels, they all stick to 20MHz wide channels? I'm not certain about this, but given how the numbers cluster, I would bet this is the case.
    (And, of course, none of these devices use multiple antennas for wifi.)

    The flash has nothing to do with it. iPad flash can write sustained at a little under 20MB/s (ie 160 Mbs/s) and I imagine other tablets have similar specs.

    In theory, the most power efficient way to run wifi is to do get your transmissions done as fast as possible --- in other words use 40MHz and multiple antennas and run at the maximum data rate possible. Of course this requires that the chips being used be maximally efficient in their overhead, so that essentially all power is being burned in RF transmit, not in the receivers, the decode logic and so on. It may well be that the chips supporting 40MHz, let alone MIMO, simply haven't been around for long enough to have their power usage tuned to where the 20MHz chips are.
  • tipoo - Sunday, April 17, 2011 - link

    Most routers and laptops will default to 20MHz anyways. Reply
  • gentrfunk - Saturday, April 16, 2011 - link

    Hi Folks,

    Anyone have any info on how messages are passed back and forth between the kernel? I'm interested in the fact that microkernel systems typically had problems in some cases locking up the cue with multiple rapid input (e.g. mouse clicks, etc)...

    any thoughts?
  • mavricxx - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

    The thing about this tablet is that you gotta give it time to mature. Right now is at its infant state where there are little apps, and the software is still being refined. I will say that the best thing about this tablet that sets it apart from Android is that you won't have different iterations of say Honeycomb 3.0 and having to wait forever for updates. One good thing RIM has going for it is its reputation for kicking out updates. Hopefully, it kicks it in turbo and lots of GOOD apps start coming out. Another thing I'd like to point out that NONE of the reviews have applauded RIM for is the standard MicroUSB charger which all phones use now a days. This is a big deal as if you happen to lose your charger its no big deal. I hope to see a lot of cool and useful gadgets for this device as well. One major thing I see that RIM screwed up besides the whole email/calendar/contacts thing was the absence of expandable memory; Had they added a FULL size SDXC card support they would have blown this thing to another level. A couple of things I'd like to see with the upcoming updates are: Free turn-by-turn Nav, universal search and maybe some full free FPS(Call of duty)/racing(need for speed)/action(Grand theft auto)/RTS(Company of heroes) games to make this thing worthwhile to buy. Lastly, I think RIM could have made this thing more desirable to purchase as well by including headphones, USB adaptor and an HDMI adaptor. Reply
  • worldbfree4me - Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - link

    This year, Tablets will probably be only 2nd to HDTV's in Black Friday advertising. I like my iPad 1, but it is lacking in a lot of areas. I think that the features I crave on the HTC View (Stylus Input), Black Berry and HP WebOS (Bridge), and True Multitasking will eventually find their way onto the rest of the pack and by this time next year we will finally see complete Tablets with I/O galore (HDMi Mirroring,USB 3.0, BT 3.0, MicroSD etc). With Amazon leading the Cloud Storage Charge, on device storage will become not so this keeping retail prices nominal. Even right now because of my distrust in Apples’ walled garden. I have no Music or Videos stored locally on my iPad. Sugar Sync, Evernote, Drop Box, and of course Gmail rounds out my storage albeit virtually.

    Thanks for another great analysis!
  • mblair - Wednesday, April 20, 2011 - link

    The RIM playbook is a game changer. The slick, easy to use interface and true multi-tasking make it a dream to use. Its Flash execution is flawless. I was surprised how many times I needed Flash. It made my Ipad almost useless some of the time.

    The best feature for me is Blackberry Bridge. A Wi-Fi tablet but with my blackberry in my pocket and Bluetooth, I can operate 3G. I can't do that with my Wi-Fi only Ipad! And I don't need two user accounts or an extra monthly fee.

    It did not take me long to get used to the Blackberry paradigm. Now I take it everywhere, it is small enough to be truly portable. Battery life is OK, not spectacular but pretty good. The video rendering is world class.

    I use gmail so the browser is all I want or need most of the time. I have my Blackberry for email from work and when tied to the Playbook I can use the larger screen seamlessly. The Playbook gives me all I want.

    Good bye Apple. It has been a slice.

    I love it. I have given my son the Ipad. He wants a Playbook. Maybe later.
    Michael Blair
  • Shadowmaster625 - Friday, April 22, 2011 - link

    This is a screenshot from a flash game running on IE9:

    There are huge gray sections that are failing to render or whatnot. The sections grow over time. It looks really bad. This doesn't happen on firefox. But the game does run faster on IE9, for whatever that is worth... obviously not much.
  • exprimarelibera - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I bought one today, more than four months after this article and still no email application available. I'm pretty disappointed, after all that's what made RIM what they are.
  • No Netflix Streaming - Sunday, November 27, 2011 - link

    This tablet DOES NOT STREAM NETFLIX. The Netflix app only queues discs. Contact Blackberry Before You Buy and Demand a Netflix Streaming App. Reply

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