Keep taking the tablets (RIM Playbook versus Ipad)

Just watched a demo of the RIM  Playbook as part of the Lotusphere conference – link here. Would have to say that this is the best competitor tablet I’ve seen so far and although we may have a few months to wait to see this in anger I have to say that it may be time well spent.  There seems to be a lot of functionality in the unit – specifically in the area of inputs and outputs which will definitely work in the devices favour. Corporate types have no doubt looked at the IPad and wondered what Apple think about its usage pattern with  no direct storage options. The hdmi output will no doubt appeal to presenters and sales but for me the most useful feature was the Blackberry Bridge Bluetooth link software that gains access to the information held on your blackberry handset.

The market for tablets is in flux at present there is no doubt. Any supplier who has seen the explosion in growth for Apple based on the Ipad is out there trying to grab a piece of this market. The real issue for me is just how close they can get to the replacement “day long desktop”  or tablet laptop that currently is the workhouse of most businesses. To me – the HP TX2 is the best of the current crop but even it has failings in terms of weight and battery life (and also the move away from the detachable keyboard of the TC1100 – its predecessor).

Expect a huge variation in the tablets delivered this year. Many will be abysmal and poorly thought out. Most will have limited impact and will appeal to the me-too (want something cheaper than Ipad) consumers but lets face it Apple’s price is higher than it ought to be and competition will drive up specs and drive down prices.

 The winners could bring new life to developers and companies focused on getting information (literally) into their customers hands. The real winners will be the ones who provide a real world practical tool that provides innovation and allows developers to get to grips with the changing needs of the users driven by tablet capabilities (and weaknesses).

So heres to the Year of the Tablet (again)