I feel a great sadness for RIM with it’s Playbook. For one thing, it’s pushing a platform that nobody seems to want. I think we’ve all seen that before. Just as Palm died on it’s arse along with Nokia’s Symbian platform, so RIM is flogging a dead horse.
I mean at least HP had the good sense at some point to open their platform up to being rooted and booted to run Android on it. Thus making it something of a performance bargain for anybody who managed to get it at the low low price.
But RIM is pushing it’s QNX based fondleslab (as The Register put it) at an ever decreasing price. Today it’s gone down another £10.
What does appear to be coming is an update that will repackaged Android applications to be able to run on the RIM Playbook. If that’s truly as effective as they imply, it could have a massive effect on the device. Software support being it’s real Achilles heal. That and the fact that they released it WITHOUT AN EMAIL CLIENT! I mean, ARE THEY STUPID OR SOMETHING!
A “person who does not want to be mentioned” told me at the weekend that out of all the tablets they managed to sell over the last month NOT A SINGLE ONE was for the RIM Playbook, despite the price drop. It must be killing RIM and retailers and you can only hope it costs peanuts to produce, because it’s just the sort of product that can turn a major player in the industry into a nobody.
It’s not even like it’s a bad device. But there number of issues it has compared to even the most humble of Android device is shocking.
RIM has had issues on the Blackberry front as well. With so many countries rejecting their email system for something a little more secure and less NSA’d, it’s no wonder the Crackberry manufacturer is feeling the heat.
But something I did hear about was the excessive spending of the executives on things like corporate travel, which immediately made me think of Commodore. Another Ontario based IT manufacturer who went down the same road. They produced a number of best selling devices; initially the Commodore Pet, then VIC-20 and finally hitting gold with the Commodore 64. They innovated into a new market with the Commodore Amiga and then…. then… did nothing. They sat on their hardware and didn’t improve it beyond adding better graphics, new cases and faster processors.
This was a company that produced the single biggest selling computer of all time. The Commodore 64 sold over 17 million units and netted them a small fortune. To put that into context, it’s rival the Sinclair ZX Spectrum sold just 5 million units.
Then Commodore released the Amiga, a cut price rival for the Apple Mac, with (at the time) amazing graphics capabilities. To say they dropped the ball by refusing to move forward would be an understatement.
That’s where RIM is, right now.
Despite my reservations, I found a Playbook on eBay for £100 and decided to give the device a go. I’ll write up my experiences as soon as I get a chance and post a link here. But I should say now, I found it was both fantastic and not so great. The device, I cannot fault. The software… we’ll get into that later.