back to article RIM BlackBerry PlayBook 7in tablet

The PlayBook is described by makers RIM as the first professional-grade tablet. RIM, of course, is best known for its e-mail handset, the BlackBerry. A good deal larger and minus the distinctive keyboard, RIM’s Playbook is a handsome machine, well-designed and with great build quality. RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Building …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's half finished, but might be good one day. But gets a good score?!

    How can a tablet possibly justify a 75% rating, when it doesn't offer much in the way of apps and there's no native email even?

    Are you going to start reviewing all products based on what they might do one day? Give buggy, unplayable games top ratings because the developers say there will be a patch in a few months?

    Also, RIM's excuse for the lack of email: It's a small device and you might lose it on the train, which is a security risk. Okay, so the solution to that is to keep your email on a smaller, and even more easily lost phone. But it'll be available on the tablet soon, somehow magically fixing the problem that made it impossible at launch. This is pure bullshit if ever I heard it, it's not security related, it just wasn't finished in time.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The 75% score seem over overinflated, given that El-Reg mark down other products for much less than "not finished"...

      Sounds like to get an exclusive review, they had to commit to a minimum review score...

      1. Alex Wells

        Minimum review score...

        I agree completely. I suspect it's something to do with the Bilderburg group.</sarcasm>

        The email feature slagged off above: Blackberries are remotely administrate-able, so that emails can be removed should the phone be stolen/lost. Blackberry Tabs won't have this because they're not carrier-locked. I would have thought this was obvious?

        1. Dave Fox

          It might be "obvious" but...

          having taken James Bond's Blackberry when he left it on the train, surely my first step would be to put it into airplane mode so that it can't receive any remote wipe instruction! ;)

          So much for security!

          1. Alex Wells

            I don't think it's that bad a feature actually...

            @Dave Fox

            I'm pretty sure you can restrict access to Airplane Mode via BES.


            If the tab was locked to a carrier, it would be remotely administrate-able - your IT admin could remotely wipe it. As it isn't (yet), Blackberry implement a feature where it slaves emails from your wipe-able Blackberry. This is the part I thought should have been obvious to OP.

            1. nichomach

              @Alex Wells

              Remote wipes work over IP connections that aren't cellular too. At least with Activesync they do.

          2. Mark 65

            @Dave Fox

            "having taken James Bond's Blackberry when he left it on the train, surely my first step would be to put it into airplane mode so that it can't receive any remote wipe instruction! ;)

            So much for security!"

            How exactly do you do that without unlocking it first?

        2. nichomach


          I have smartphones and other devices in service that are not carrier-locked, but they're perfectly wipeable; possibly I'm misunderstanding you, but what difference does it make who the carrier (or none) is when as soon as it connects home it gets torched anyway?

        3. Wpgwill


          iPad supports remote wipe for free for all consumers via and the find my iphone app. Surely BB can manage that?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Same way as the LG TV yesterday

      A TV that is basically unviewable until you tweak the settings _MANUALLY_ scored 80%.

      That is almost like reading PC World or some other industry rag which licks certain portions of the industry and not bites their hands.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Integrity - we've heard of it."

    Well many things but a few suggestions:

    The reviewer was invited to a posh party by RIM with sushi served over naked bodies and caviar all around (or maybe just a few prostitutes and a bag of coke)

    Or you'll be seeing Playbook ads here soon enough :-)

    "We'll do anything for money" and their famous motto "Integrity - we've heard of it."

  3. Jim Coleman


    Look at all the Register's reviews - they give most products 75%. I don't recall seeing anything given a mark much higher or lower.

    1. Anton Ivanov

      I do

      The tochiba A100 which was the first Android netbook got an abissmal score of 10%.

      Reason - it was undercooked same as the Playbook and the reporter had to excercise some grey matter to use it - same as the Playbook which needs instructional videos to use it.

      Talking of DOUBLE standards... Integrity, we 've heard of it...

  4. Peter Storm

    "a handsome machine, well-designed and with great build quality"

    Nothing like their phones then.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      All to true. I've been battling for months to keep the dust out of my phone. I have to take it apart every couple weeks to remove dust from under the screen. What a load of crap. My next phone will be an android device, what a fool I was getting a blackberry.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hate my work BB with an vengence

        If I could access my Lotus Notes (another corporate yukfest) on my iphone (still waiting for Good Enterprise to be finally installed centrally) or if we moved to (spit) Exchange then I finally would be able to thow the BB out of the upstairs window and watch it shatter in to a thousand pieces mmmmwwwaaahh! [rub hands in expectation]

        However ... the Playbook has potential .. it needs GPS + 3G modem for less than £80 extra and Android support to turn up. Not seen the native C/C++ SDK yet .. would hate to be limited to Adobe Air and Java (double spit).

  5. Prof

    Lo, it is good

    I've got a playbook here on my desk, and i have to say i love it. Definitely worth the 75% even on what it does right now. With the extra stuff thats coming soon that rating can only go up.

    A couple of points about the article: Actually, it does have GPS built in. Also, you've missed a great method of getting files onto it - Wi-Fi file transfer. Turn it on in settings and you can browse your network to \\playbook (or whatever dns name you pick) and drag and drop files straight on or off the playbook. Absolutely wipes the floor with itunes syncing hassle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re. Lo, it is good

      As bad as itunes is, at least it does manage your library + syncing automatically. Manually copying music + video is fine if you've just got a few tracks, but with a big library neatly organised into playlists and such, it's an utter nightmare.

      That said, the wireless file transfer facility sounds damn useful!

      1. Prof

        Sure, but its good to have the option

        You can use the desktop management software to handle full syncing if you like.

        But the easy and fast drag-and-drop is perfect for getting a photo you've just taken off, or loading in a video before you go catch a train etc. Having the flexibility to do either is very handy

  6. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Call me when...

    ...they release a COMPLETE version with integrated email, contacts and security to a BES server.

    Until then, it would be as unused as my ex-wifes phone number.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I hear she's on the damn phone five hours every evening.

  7. DrXym

    Security rationale sounds like BS

    If RIM are so worried about lost tablets, the logical course of action is not to make them at all. Given that they do make them, crippling them so they are not fit for purpose seems more than a tad counterproductive.

    If RIM were serious about protecting data why not strongly encrypt it on the device and require a login if the device is inactive for more than an hour? Without the login you don't get the key and without the key you don't get the data.

    It seems a more likely reason the device has no email reader is because the software to do it was broken, or the infrastructure it connects to is. So they kludge a bridge between the phone and the tablet and pretend its for "security".

  8. Jemma


    "RIM has no native email" - um excuse me, what 'native email' does iOS for TechMuppets have - Gmail - thats not a native application. iOS proper has no native email either, just varying clients.

    "It doesnt have enough apps" - um the thing hasnt even hit shops yet, and you expect it to have the same number of fart apps as an OS thats been out for two years, and has Google paying for developers to develop for it. And lets again not even mention iOS

    "Its no fair... the tethering app wont work with my iSlave or An-drone phone" - give it two weeks and there will be a version out that will - its inevitable

    So please stop the 'I wannit now' wingeing please. how old are you? twelve? it takes time to ramp up a new OS, and this is what this is, so have some patience,

    And I note with pleasure the archetypal 75% - reserved for anything that isnt iSlave or An-drone.

    Personally given RIM and their ability to provide *actual* security for users - I suggest that this tablet will find a ready market, especially if RIM security vet their applications in the store - given all the problems with An-drone and iSlave apps waving their "secure" bits at all and sundry - I wouldnt be surprised if Apple & Google have already lost round one of the pad wars.

    1. Steve Todd

      @Jemma, do TRY to do your homework

      ""RIM has no native email" - um excuse me, what 'native email' does iOS for TechMuppets have - Gmail - thats not a native application. iOS proper has no native email either, just varying clients."

      Completely wrong. iOS has one email client that knows how to connect to different types of email servers (GMail, MS Exchange, Mobile Me, IMAP and POP3) just like, say, outlook on your desktop. The playbook doesn't know how to connect to any of these. The ONLY thing a Playbook can do is tether to a BB.

      1. TheRealRoland

        @Steve -- someone missed the homework assignment?

        Sorry Steve, only to use the playbook to read the emails from your blackberry phone would you need blackberry bridge.

        The playbook can tether to any phone that supports tethering -- there are people using their iphones to tether the playbook.

        And please do remember - the playbook uses wifi, so it can connect to whatever email service you need, as long as it has a web interface. So no nonsense about the *only* thing the playbook can do.

      2. Richard1111

        Diff between tether and bridge

        The bb playbook can tether to any phone (iphone, nokia,etc.) it's the blackberry services like bes and bis the bridge to the playbook. So there two modes, tether to any phone which gives you access to 3g/4g service and blackberry bridge which gives you access to bis and bes. And b/c the web browser is so good, you can access gmail with full browser access or any other service like facebook or twitter.

    2. DrXym


      Android and iOS have native clients with IMAP / POP3 / Exchange support to access virtually every mail server in existence. You also don't need to tether your tablet to a phone in order to read email from the device. There are also various webapp and native clients floating around for specific services.

      There is no excuse for what RIM are doing. By all means they should offer a way to tether the device to a phone. By all means they should strongly encrypt the data to protect it from inadvertant loss. But to ship a device with no native email client and require tethering to a phone is inexcusable and certainly not justifiable for reasons of "security".

      1. TheRealRoland



        Only if you want to access your blackberry email inboxes you would need a blackberry phone to bridge the playbook with your phone, using Blackberry Bridge.

        If you want to access your GMail, Hotmail, whatevermail, use the webinterface over wifi, or use an app over wifi. or tether. No need for a blackberry phone to tether.

        There is at least one native email app available (have not looked since some time, so there might be more), released couple days after launch. Why should that be RIM-developed?

        The whole point of this playbook is why is there a need for apps when the normal website's interface can do better.

      2. Richard1111

        Difference between Bridge and tethering

        Playbook can and does tether with any phone, including Iphone, Nokia, etc. The playbook tethering give you access to 3G / 4G services, where the Blackberry Bridge give you access to BIS and BES blackberry email services... it's that simple.

    3. Wpgwill

      let me help you

      I'm assuming you've never seen an iPad before (or iPhone), so when you go into a store and turn on a demo iPad the native email client is the icon of the envelope on the bottom left. They really do hide it I know!

      When you as a consumer have a choice of Android, iOS or QNX it seems logical to want to buy the device with a decent selection of apps already, rather than waiting 3 months and hoping they come out.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Suggested Price: $499 (16GB), estimated UK price £399

    I'd rather have the basic WiFi only iPda for that price thanks.

    9.7" Display rather than this one's 7" display

    Oh, don't forget the other Reg Article about (some) of these (RIM Playbook) having to be recalled after the US Launch

    1. TheRealRoland

      FAIL overused?

      Why is it a FAIL if the tablet does not meet *your* needs? Does everyone else have to agree with you that 7in is not good enough?

      [yeah, lots of possibilities here for jokes ;-) ]

      There was a time when people commenting on articles actually had good points brought up -- but to simply say 'I think 7in is crap, so it's a total waste of your money to even buy it' -- I don't buy that.

      My Playbook works, it does have GPS built-in, Blackberry Bridge is amazing (kinda-tethering without the need for another data plan!). The tablet works for what I need it for.


      So i think everyone should buy one! You're stupid if you don't! FAIL! etc.


    2. Richard1111

      And that is the only spec that's better then the playbook

      ipad mono speaker, playbook usable stereo speakers

      ipad mono mic, playbook stereo mic

      ipad 900mhhz dual core, playbook 1gig dual core

      ipad 512mb, playbook 1gig

      ipad wifi has no gps, playbook wifi has gps

      ipad cam's vga .640 and 1.3 mb, playbook 3mb and 5mb

      ipad needs adapter for hmdi out @ 1080i , playbook micro hdmi out wkth 1080p

      ipad only can mirror out, playboom can mirror or display two different displys. Also can do 3D out with hdmi 1.4 cable

      ipad uses custom connectors, playbook uses standard, micro hdmi and micro usb

  10. johnnymotel


    1. Player_16

      Recalled... in transit.!

      1: Real the article.

      2: Then source the article from another source that's NOT the competition.

      Turn the trucks around and take'em back.

      RIM realised that a faulty batch went out and made an effort to intercept.

      Don't be a tool.

  11. Mark .

    Re: It's half finished, but might be good one day. But gets a good score?!

    "How can a tablet possibly justify a 75% rating, when it doesn't offer much in the way of apps and there's no native email even?"

    I guess it's the Apple model - it took several generations to add basic things like 3G, video calling, multiasking, even copy/paste and MMS, but the Apple phone still got endless praise.

    So I guess the answer is to say "But why would I need email? RIM offer a whole new paradigm of doing things. Though I can't tell you what it is". And then when it's finally offered in version 3, the PlayBook can be hailed as revolutionary, for introducing this wonderful new email functionality...

    1. Ilgaz

      RIM isn't Apple

      That is one of the big mistakes Nokia also did. RIM/Nokia users aren't forgiving or apologising or they do free PR for companies.

      If your product is really unfinished or sucks (e.g. N97), they don't have mercy at all.

      You won't see people forming gangs to "thumb down" posts that are "anti playbook", they may even agree them.

      Cult vs. Customer, reallly different.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    think of it as a Blackberry phone add on

    External monitor, touch interface and extra storage rolled into one

    1. nichomach

      Well, I'm sure...

      ...that'll succeed as awesomely as the Palm Foleo did...oh...oh dear...should someone have told RIM about that...?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well, I'm sure...

        "...that'll succeed as awesomely as the Palm Foleo did"

        Guffaw, eh? Except that the Foleo was never released, and then the netbook surge happened despite idiot pundits claiming that nobody wanted anything less than a full-fat 10kg "runs Office on Windows" mega-laptop.

        The only lesson is this: listen to common sense, not to pundits. Oh, and when learning from history, make sure you actually get the history and not someone's "did you hear...?" fiction.

        1. nichomach

          A product doesn't have to be released...

          ...for it to fail; unless, of course, your argument is that cancellation three months after triumphal announcement is an indication of a SUCCESSFUL product... Twit.

  13. Anonymous Anonymous

    Biggest fail for enterprise users - Can't edit email attachments

    It has a lot of potential, but opening email attachments in "read only" mode is less than half-baked. Granted, the screen real estate is helpful - everyone hates trying to read attachments on a BlackBerry phone, so it's good that attachments are now MUCH easier to read. But most corporate road warriors want to edit or annotate the attachments and send them on. If RIM can pull that off while maintaining BES security, I'll have no hesitation in buying one for each of our BB users. We don't care about playlists and a bazillion apps; let's support one of the most common business functions.

  14. Ilgaz

    a BB without email or chat

    So does RIM think people will check some tech sites daily to find out when they can mail using a BB tablet?

    You know, they really made a very expensive joke. They could stop hurrying and develop the mail application before shipping it. They could also send the alpha versions to credible media and bloggers to have their thoughts on the UNFINISHED beta device instead of trying to sell it.

    I feel sad for first appearance of legendary QNX in a such pathetic product.

  15. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Signature feature

    RIM's edge when it comes to push email is their patent on it. Everyone else can do push email but they have to implement it differently to RIM and the alternatives are not so battery friendly.

    Security features can be implemented by anyone. Although some countries dislike the security.

  16. Brett Weaver
    Thumb Down

    Yes! Another review of an expensive toy that does less than the opposition

    When clone computers came out against IBM, the big thing was they were better, faster and cheaper. The Register seems to want to laud products that are slower, have less resolution and function and are more expensive than the dominant product. How much are you guys getting paid?

  17. Luke McCarthy

    I was considering one

    if they implement and IMAP client, 3G and USB mass storage. But I might be tempted by a webOS tablet instead. Too early to drop any money on one of these tablet things.

  18. Dar

    I Can't Believe this Rating

    I have an iPad 2 and was very anxious to try out the new Playbook. I think that competition is good for Apple. So I sat side by side with another person who just received his Playbook. I took his Playbook and he took my iPad 2. Within minutes I was frustrated. The responsiveness of the screen does not even come close to the iPad 2. The Playbook crashed on me a couple of times and I never did get to install a free app because again the Playbook crashed. I wanted my iPad 2 back but the owner of the Playbook didn't want to return it. To make a long story short, the owner of the Playbook was given his Playbook for free from work. After using the iPad 2, he went back to work the next day and got rid of it. He purchased his own iPad 2 and wants absolutely nothing to do with the Playbook. So, for those who love the Playbook, its probably because they never had an iPad. As for the rating given for this review, the first thing I thought was "Is this guy getting paid by RIM"?

  19. Jemma

    Et tu, Idiot

    Unless I am mistaken a 'native application' is an application developed for a specific OS. Therefore a email system for any OS requires two things. A client (or clients) and the relevant server back end. Gmail, Hotmail and the like are webmail services. Webmail is not a OS native application for ANY OS - that is its point, it uses HTTPS and other protocols which most if not all computers can access (even, were you to be that desperate, the CPC6128) - to provide a non-OS-specific email service.

    So given that to be the case my argument stands.

    Second, RIMs interest in proper security and their synchronization with exchange means that it, and the BB phones are the *only* - yes, thats right, the solitary - phone/tablet system that comes with a built in system native email system in a full featured exchange sync.

    It may have escaped people on here but all the symbian 3rd ed phones - right back to the N95 can sync contacts/email/calendar with gmail - using the freeware app 'mail for exchange' - oddly enough thats not mentioned when this site does a review of symbian phones.. funny that, isnt it.

    As my new phone I am awaiting a Nokia E5-00 - and oddly enough a phone with 256mb internal memory, and a 600mhz processor can do the same things as an an-drone or iSlave with twice the processing power and a third the battery life (you tell me a an-drone or iSlave phone with 4 day battery life).

    There is an old saying which this generation seems to have forgotten "the right tool, for the right job" and as far as secure corporate fondleslabs & phones go RIM is the only choice, and I suspect as a result of this security, that Apple have already lost this battle. Especially if some bright spark has put the same secret tracking tech into the pads as the phones.

    1. Steve Ives

      Jemma - how old are you?

      Are you 12? "an-drone or iSlave"? Do you seriously refer to them as that? Perhaps we should refer to the RIM "Poohbook"?

      As for your waffle about the definition of a native email client, I have not the words...


  20. Anonymous Coward

    @ Dar

    now lets be honest, that never really happened did it.

  21. blenkie

    Battery Life

    What a rubbish review. What about battery life?

  22. Spyware

    How many apps do own on your PC vs your smartphone.

    I like Apple hardware but I don't like iTunes. I am trying to stay away from any business model the requires me to pay usage fees for apps when I could get the same for free on my PC (except Netflix).

    The fact that RIM's Playbook can play Flash solves that problem for me... It's just like browsing on my PC.

    And if you have a cell phone and a 3G tablet... do you want to pay twice for a data plan? Cell Phone carriers charge exorbitant prices here in Canada. Just using one smartphone on the net for a few minutes will cost you several dollars (not pennies), so imagine if you use both. The BlackBerry Bridge allows you to use your phone's data plan with your Playbook. Of course, cell phone carriers don't like this technology because it would cut into a new revenue stream (screwww them).

    Now ISP's all over the world are looking at how much more money Cell phone companies are making off the internet... and want a piece of the pie. They want to introduce UBB (Usage Based Billing) so that 8$ a month Netflix service will actually cost you much much more. This makes sense when your ISP also owns cable (or satellite) tv (and pay per view).

    I can live with the temporary email issue everybody here is complaining about.

    So really, how many apps (not Games) do you buy for your PC that are not professional or business?

  23. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Not Apple pricing, then?

    "As for pricing, figures are still unannounced here in Blighty. In the US, it mimics the price of the iPad 2 at $499 for the 16GB version, on that basis, there's a likelihood it will be sell for £399 in the UK."

    If they follow the Apple model for pricing, it will be $499 dollars in the US and £499 in the UK!

    Well, it costs more to do business in the UK ... Steve says!

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