BlackBerry Tablet Software Will Make or Break the Product

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According to the latest rumors, the BlackBerry tablet aka the BlackPad aka the BlackBerry Cobalt, will be a “companion device” much like the Palm Foleo. The device will have no cellular connectivity, but will rely on either a Bluetooth or WiFi connection. The device is slated for a December launch, but it’s very possible we’ll see something earlier. Also in the rumor mill: the device will be focused on multimedia such as photos, web browsing, ebooks etc.

I’m still very torn on the idea of a BlackBerry tablet, but I’m also not sold on tablets in general. What is the point when you have a smartphone, a laptop and a desktop? The only thing that’s going to sell me on a tablet is the software. I bet we’ll start to see some incredible apps coming out for the iPad in the near future, as Apple has had great success in attracting bright developers to their platform. RIM has had success attracting enterprise developers and companies that can leverage the power of the device for business, but in terms of media and games the platform is still far behind the competitors. So if this BlackBerry tablet is going to be focused on media, BlackBerry’s greatest weakness, and software is the only thing that’s going to save this device, it’s not clear whether the product makes any sense at this point in time.

Thoughts?

  • DavidB

    Folio was bad, but to launch such a device in 2010 would IMHO be an immediate FAIL. Without standalone connectivity (if it MUST have a BlackBerry smartphone connection in order to “communicate”) there's no chance in the world we live in today that it can succeed. If my refrigerator and my TV and dozens of other devices can go “online” on their own, there's little room in the market for a computing device that can't. I don't care how good the software is, if people can't Facebook and Twitter and Netflix on it, they won't buy it.

  • piper975

    This device needs to be designed to view pdf, word docs, spread sheets etc. It will make for a great tool for once again heading toward that paperless society that was greatly hoped for with the computer. Just make sure it has a touch screen and documents can be edited otherwise it will fail. I need it to be able to connect to my office network and browse it for documents, open, edit and save them back to the network. Do it with bluetooth or wi-fi, just as long as it can do it.

  • viiradev

    I don't see why people are getting their panties in a bunch over it being a companion device. Most people are bying the WiFi-only iPads – who wants another monthly cell bill anyways??

    I really like the size size, the iPad looks a bit too big for me. Probably RIM will try to lure in some document-centric industries, like medical services where viewing documents and forms on the go is a bread winner.

    Two thumbs up from me, can't wait for it to come out so I can start writing apps for it!

  • ljp

    How many people go out without their phone? The number of consumers that are going dropping their landlines continues to increase so why would the device need it's own connectivity? A companion device uses one of RIM's strongest features(bandwidth compression) to offer a larger screen for consumers and enterprise customers.

    Kyle asked why would people want this when they have a laptop, but Mr. Lazaridis stated in a recent keynote that businesses will offer their employees a choice between a smartphone or a laptop but not both. Adding in the larger screen format with a tablet could mean more companies choosing to drop the laptop option and just go with smartphones.

    I think it's a great idea and would be the only reason I would buy a tablet. Because I have no interest in paying another monthly data fee.

  • BlackBerry Fan

    If the BlackPad were provided by my company, I would want it to have its own data connectivity just because that naturally more convenient while the additional cost would be offset by the company. However, if I'm to purchase a BlackPad, I would definitely opt for the Wifi version and or deal with thethering through my BlackBerry. My boss would enjoy a BlackPad and ditch her laptop for sure but I can't see him ever bothering to thether. I ultimately see him turning it back in. The right choice for RIM is to provide Wifi as well as a data option.