BlackBerry PlayBook: It's pure magic

Written by Abhishek Puri | Updated: Mar 5 2013, 07:36am hrs
BlackBerry PlayBook: Ever since Apple rolled out its tablet, apparently it needs to market a lousy product on crutches of fancy acronyms. The brainwashed masses addicted to Apple cool are just cogs of network effect making it the largest mobile customer platform. Their marketing geniuses proved the old adage completely wrong; you can fool all its customers all the time. This strategy has been a wild fire success in terms of sales backed by aggressive carrier subsidies.

This reviewer had an opportunity to own an iPad for a brief period; comparisons with his existing workhorse, PlayBook. BlackBerry PlayBook demonstrates the power of QNX. Unfortunately, at the time of its launch it had to compete against dirt cheap lowly Android clones flooded from China. The tech press pronounced it as dead on arrival since it blamed it for lack of applications. This reviewer did face a Hobsons choice for the tablet but in retrospect, it was a sensible decision to stick with BlackBerry.

The first impression for iPad was overwhelmingly negative. Apart from the 9.7 inch screen, it appears and feels brittle. It has a cheap plasticky contraption that serves as a sleep button with oddly placed volume rocker on the side. Holding the sharpened edges of the screen makes it very uncomfortable to hold it for prolonged periods. The first boot showed nothing barring the stock access for contacts or camera. The App Store is restricted to the country of origin. Luckily, my tablet connected to Wi-Fi since there had been issues with connectivity in the last iOS update. This remained unresolved for over four months till Cupertino woke up to furious avalanche of complaints on its support forums. There was also an existing issue in Exchange connectivity till recently. Why wouldnt impartial reviews from tech press highlight issues in basic aspects for connectivity

It took some time to get oriented to the process of switching to apps by pressing home button and locating the other app on navigation grid. Coming from the PlayBook world with seamless gestures, it was awful and pain to work on iPad. It took an ungodly gesture of whole hand to reveal the home screen or ugly four finger swipe from the sides to shift from app to another one. The apps cease in the background and many apps running drain out the battery rapidly.

The famous application conundrum continues to plague every new entrant. The idea of applications is so deeply entrenched in consumer segment that it is impossible to market without it. Applications are mostly a rework of existing Web platforms. Browsers can easily access the data but conventional wisdom has gone bonkers to have apps for everything. Google, for example, has a dedicated application for Gmail. The application store is a mess of choice as this reviewer had to wade to multiple clones of popular apps. While PlayBook offers ways to manipulate documents right from the word go, you have to individually purchase everything from Apple. Thats pure greed in terms of user friendliness.

The keyboard on iPad is nothing to write home about. Its an lousy contraption popping up when needed making this reviewer cringe on many occasions unlike the beauty of PlayBook which learns from users preference. Apples messaging app named imessage cant even hold the candle in front of BlackBerry Messenger, arguably, one of the most advanced forms of communication accessible through secure encrypted BlackBerry Bridge. Video Calling or Facetime is nothing to write home; this reviewer is excited about the new BB10 where screen sharing is possible.

The horrible experience to work on iPad has reaffirmed this reviewers belief in BlackBerry Playbook. Apple cant get its basic issues right (like Wi-Fi connectivity). If PlayBook competes with equivalent screen size and growing ecosystem, it smokes out Apple on all counts. This isnt a formal comparison of hardware specifications but totally a users perspective and opinion. Caveat emptor holds true for Apple!

The writer is a practicing doctor with keen interest in technology