Blackberry Playbook – Shrewd or Disaster ?

About 3 weeks ago i had a play with a pre production playbook, and i have to admit i was impressed with what i found. A well built unit at exactly the right size, which went like stink. Ideal.

Now lets go back further, to 1998 to be precise. I was at the Network-Interop show at Olympia. A guy from BT showed my a small blue device with a wheel on the side called a blackberry. This smaller than a mobile phone device apparently allowed me to send and receive email on the move. OMG (if it had been around then !). I rushed back to work and starting spreading the gospel. These things are going to be the future of remote email, blah, blah, blah. Turns out to some extent i was right.

So back today, and RIM are still the no 1 in secure email on the move. So the one thing i didn’t check on the Playbook was the mail client. I just assumed it would be there and comparable to what i have experienced on the various bolds, curves and storms i have used over the years.

Turns out i was wrong. This fondle slab doesn’t come out of the box with the only thing that gives RIM competitive avantage, secure email and calendar. WHAT !

“But you can !” i hear the RIM employee shouting, as i leave the shop “you just need to bluetooth it to your blackberry”.

So i now need two devices to get something i should get easily with the first device. In our Apple/Android/sexy phone of the week centric world, not everyone has a Blackberry for work now, so to me this is very shortsighted. In a world of decreasing market presence, surely native PIM inclusion would be a given. Will there be a consumer version with some sort of client built in. This is probably not a big deal as most people will have web mail of some sort, and there will be an app, or the browser will deal with it in a sensible way, like on an IOS device. I prefer it to using the mail app.

So thats the disaster (for now – apparently the first Feature Pack will sort this).

How have RIM explained this away? As discussed the RIM platform is by far the most secure mobile corporate ecosystem out there. Period. So based on this, they are suggesting that the device should have no corp data on it. Hence once you connect your Blackberry to the playbook, you are still only getting a window onto the world, rather than the keys to the door.

Personaly i am struggling with this. My Blackberry has all this data on with no issues. I am assuming BES conectivity for these devices will ensure the same level of remediation available for lost devices. This brings me onto my next potential issue. Will having a Playbook mean a second BES licence? No, as the device is connected through the BB handset. I assume that post the first service pack the device will be able to be utilised standalone. This would then incur another licence, and further cost. This is obviously unacceptable for a user already on a BB, and therefore will need to be dealt with sensibly. Maybe licence per user, than per device. This should be easy to mange taking on board the fact that the machines are always connected home.

If RIM don’t sort these issues out, it will be a shame, because as I said at the top, the device is lovely to use.

Just to muddy the waters, as i was writing this I’ve just picked up the news regarding the new Samsung Galaxy’s (the 10.1 and 8.9). Choosing a tablet has never been harder !

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