Early PlayBook Reviews Say Excellent Hardware But Software Needs Updates

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playbook in store
pic by @andydubz

I’ve been reading reviews of the PlayBook and they all seem to bring to be saying the same thing: the hardware is amazing but the software needs work. The first thing I thought while reading those reviews was, “that’s exactly how I felt about the Torch.”

The BlackBerry Torch is a great example of how it doesn’t really pay to be an early adopter. Almost as soon as the device launched, the carriers pushed out an official update to the OS. Even today, I find the Torch could use a minor update or two to help with some of the small software bugs I find. It’s not an early adopter friendly strategy, but RIM has always been pretty good about pushing updates soon after launch. After about 6 months of the device being on the market, RIM has patched the vast majority of the bugs and it’s what you wanted it to be at launch. Remember the Storm? It took a while but eventually an OS update made the Storm worth using. The Storm OS at launch was pretty abysmal though.

Here are some review quotes coming in about the PlayBook:

Wired: On both the big screen as well as the PlayBook, videos look damn good. And they sound good, too.
Wired: Every time I tried to access a Flash game on Facebook, the browser crashed. Yes, every single time.

Mashable: The user experience, web browser, cameras and connectivity features are competitive with rivals.
Mashable – We also really like the way the PlayBook handles multitasking.

TechCrunch: I can’t for the life of me figure out RIM’s thinking here. The [power] button is so small and very hard to push — I have to use my fingernails.
TechCrunch: The cameras on the PlayBook clearly blow away what the iPad has going for it.
TechCrunch: The battery life of the PlayBook is solid — I’d say comparable to the iPad.
TechCrunch: This also speaks to a larger problem the PlayBook has: the browser simply isn’t very good.

ThisIsMyNext: RIM has actually outfitted the PlayBook with a relatively hardcore set of specs.
ThisIsMyNext: The battery life on the PlayBook is outstanding.
ThisIsMyNext: One of the most astounding oversights with the PlayBook is the fact that there’s no native email, calendar, or contacts for the device out of the box.

CrackBerry: Flash support in the browser allows you to experience the full web.
CrackBerry: Overall user experience feels a little more complicated than it should be – swiping down for app options seems to be an easy gesture to forget about

Bloomberg: It really, though, shouldn’t be compared to the iPad, whose bigger screen makes it better for watching movies and Web- surfing, but is also 40 percent heavier.
Bloomberg: The main drawback is that the PlayBook feels unfinished.
Bloomberg: [About the PlayBook running Android apps] No one knows how well the emulation software will work; the company didn’t make it available for preview.

AllThingsD: [About BlackBerry Bridge] That may be fine for dedicated BlackBerry owners, but it isn’t so great for people with other phones.
AllThingsD: [The PlayBook] will launch with only about 3,000 apps designed for tablets, compared with 65,000 tablet-optimized iPad apps.
AllThingsD: It’s smooth and fast, and makes excellent use of multitouch gestures.

So what do you think? Will you purchase this device at launch and follow the updates? Will you wait a bit and buy later? Or will you pass on this tablet altogether?

  • http://caspan.com Caspan

    It does look good but I do think apps will be a major driver on this device. I do not really have a use for one and I keep trying to find one… The only thing I can think of is a Baseball score keeping app for my sons team I coach. You could keep you line up in there keep stats of all the player and look up game history etc… This would be nice to have on a small tablet but software needs to exist first!

  • Bioh

    I am still going to get one for sure! I think as a BlackBerry fan I want to be one of the fews to experience our future. I can’t say all consumers will jump on this but one underlining tone all the reviews said was BlackBerry should be taken seriously going forward. I also think they were just a lot of BS reviews and RIM’s bad execution on PR campaign side didn’t help. I read pretty much all of them and they all indirectly said this device is sweet once OS is stable.To me that’s a huge deal. OS can be resolved and with RIM going the non-carrier control release at least with this tablet I think they can modify these experiences as needed. Future is bright and I am actually really pumped! I just think its a breath of fresh air for RIM and it will take some time but 6.1 should give them some time while they restructure the whole organization. It’s make or break time and freaky with QNX as the OS I think everyone can breath easy knowing its not our traditional OS leading the charge. I am also hearing rumors of 10inch tablet around this time next year.

  • sunHammer

    The hardware is solid, and the software from what I’ve seen and played with so far on earlier models, is good and can only get better. With direct updates from RIM, no waiting months for a carrier middleman to approve updates. The multimedia and browsing aspects of the device are fantastic, which is my number one requirement for a device like this. Email & PIM I don’t mind, since I do all that on my phone or through a web-browser anyway (but I’m sure it will be nice to have when it does get included). And apps will surely come, just as the original iPad had few at launch. Knowing RIM, they may offer different form-factors of this device, too… like 9 or 10″ eventually.