Playbook: A stop-gap for iPad envy?

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John Stokdyk
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John Stokdyk ponders the possibilities for those who can't have or won't have an Apple tablet.

I was reading Richard Holway’s state of the IT industry report yesterday in which he talked about 2010 as the year of the tablet.

With the launch of Apple’s iPad in January, you can’t really fault his logic, but for months GadgetZone readers will know that I have been twisting with envious rationalisations why I don’t really want/need an iPad: too bulky, no multi-tasking and anyway, my mobile contract comes with a BlackBerry handset.

Credit goes to Apple for breaking open this new market, and for laying the most important foundations for its success with a burgeoning library of apps available through its online iTunes store.

But at last a potential rescuer is heading our way from the direction of Toronto-based BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion, which this week introduced its Playbook, a a 7in (18cm) tablet with front and rear facing cameras to support video conferencing and an all operating system called QNX.

As I noted when I looked at Toshiba’s JournE Touch, I like the size of the 7in screen and there’s hope with BlackBerry’s corporate market that it might have a chance of assembling an interesting collection.

As for connectivity, the Playbook will support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, but has no 3G signal receiver. Instead you will need to tether it to a normal BlackBerry to establish a mobile data connection. At least I’ve already got the BlackBerry, but then I remember why I continue to suffer pangs of jealousy when friends whip out their iPhones and iPads to go surfing.

Because of the screen size of my BlackBerry Pearl I rarely use it on the web and when I do, the download speeds are somewhat ponderous. The last time I used the BlackBerry browser, I remember the times for a direct train home arriving after several minutes on my BlackBerry just as the train I was on pulled out of Reading station towards an interchange in London.

I dread to think what will happen to mobile network bandwidth if the Playbook takes off and all us BlackBerry users start surfing as obsessively as iPhone users.


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02nd Oct 2010 11:38

Point of order

Why is anything connected to a mobile phone (suddenly) "tethered" ?

Is my mobile "tethered" to the local base station ?!

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