Research-in-Motion’s latest consumer electronics release, the BlackBerry Playbook LTE, is unlikely to reverse the current tide of negativity that comes with any news from the Canadian manufacturer. The original RIM Playbook, released in 2011, was met with much fanfare and just as much negative press -- as it was beset by all sorts of performance issues and widespread disappointment that basic applications, like email, were not standard. From a hardware perspective, the BlackBerry Playbook was technologically comparable to its competition at the time, like the Motorola XOOM, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the Apple iPad 2.
Click on the image below to take a look inside the BlackBerry Playbook LTE.
The Playbook LTE was reduced to a pile of parts by the time we were finished with it. But once it was torn down, it became apparent that RIM chose to stick with many of the semiconductor partners it chose to design with in the first Playbook. Maintaining some key socket wins in the new Playbook was Texas Instruments. The Playbook LTE features TI's OMAP 4460, a slight upgrade on the OMAP 4430 found within the original Playbook. The key differences between the two processors are that the OMAP 4460 has an increased clock speed of 1.5GHz, versus 1.0GHz for the 4430, and better 3D video performance. Like its predecessor, the OMAP 4460 is a dual-core processor built on ARM Cortex-A9 cores manufactured at the 45nm node. This selection was somewhat disappointing as there was some hope that RIM would chose a processor from the quad-core OMAP 5 platform, making it more in line with recent tablet offerings like the ASUS Transformer Prime, the Apple iPad 3 (at the graphics level), and the recent Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
— Allan Yogasingam is a technical market manager at UBM TechInsights.
From your analysis, looks like RIM is sticking with the same old, same old, here, which is pretty unfathomable given that their future is hanging on a thread. They really need some blockbuster products to turn the tide back in their favor. This apparently isn't going to do it; I'm wondering if the long-awaited Blackberry 10 is going to be enough to break out of the box.
I saw a pre-release Playbook at a SAP conference. It was nice. I like the smaller format tablets. They are more portable and that is what the tablet is all about.
Frankly, I think that RIM is DOA. Their main innovation was the provision of e-mail through the cellular network. Their devices were nice (I have a 8310 Curve), but they are not as sophiscated as most of the smart phones available today. Their only claim to fame to fame is really security. I had an early smart phone (a carrier brand) where I could do e-mail. With the BYOB trend in the industry, many of the attributes that RIM brought to the table are no longer unique or considered important. As the reviewer says, they should have gone quad core. I get the impression that they do not understand the situation they are in.
That's the problem, all right. RIM is like a dinosaur watching a bunch of newly-emerging mammals scurrying around at his feet, way too quick to catch and eat. So the dinosaur decides instead to ignore them. Meanwhile, those little mammals are growing bigger and eating his lunch. It really does seem as though they don't understand what's going on. I would say the company's only value now is intellectual-property protection in the developing wireless patent wars. I see an acquisition coming. Maybe that's what they're banking on, too. They certainly don't seem to be all that interested in making new and exciting smartphones.
I think RIM probably has another chance to get it right. They finally resolved their co-CEO situation, which could put the company on a new path. Even though Apple and the Android phones have stepped a generation ahead of RIM, the company still has significant technology on hand and they haven't lost their enterprise base. The BlackBerry phone is pretty clunky, but this company may still have a surprise or two in its future.
Well put, William. The edge RIM still has is its hold on the enterprise market. Purchase managers seem to be quite loyal. Even while employees are asking for iPhones and Androids, the purchase managers are still buying BlackBerrys.
It's interesting that RIM went with a dual-core processor instead of a quad core, especially given the fact that they were trying (or should have been trying) for a dramatic new product offering. I wonder why. Cost?
Charles, am not getting why still play book prefers for Dual core, when MS and Google is offering their products with Quad core processor. Whether Dual core processor have any advantage when compare with Quad core processors
William, now most people prefer tablets with either latest Android or Apple OS. Moreover Google and MS is also coming to market with most updated features. In such scenario, any scope for RIM or Nokia products.
Beth, the first BlackBerry I used back in 2009 was a mini boat anchor. My personal Motorola cellphone was slim and lightweight compared to the clunky BlackBerry issued by the company. Although RIM has a lot of work ahead of them to compete in the Apple iOS, Android, and Windows 7 smartphone/tablet market, I was quite impressed with the Qualcomm based communication pcb and dual mini speakers shown in the teardown slides.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
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