Why I returned my BlackBerry PlayBook

PlayBook_onBlack_side_angle right (500x400)

When the BlackBerry PlayBook was released last month, I bought one on day one. And today, I returned it.

After using my Samsung Galaxy Tab for so many months, carrying the PlayBook ended up feeling like a chore. I found myself constantly focusing on its limitations rather than its functionality. No Words With Friends, SlingPlayer, Nook, Rhapsody, Google Navigation, BeyondPod, or other apps that fit so nicely into my daily routine. I missed the apps that make my devices useful.

For me it was the right decision. The PlayBook’s hardware, UI, and browser are top-shelf but its lack of apps left me longing for the update coming this summer that will bring Android apps to the device through BlackBerry App World. Sure, I could hold out until summer for the update, but there is no reason to since my Samsung Galaxy Tab (and many other Android tablets on the market now) already provides full access to the Android Market.

I suppose that if all you do is browse the web and check email, the PlayBook may be right for you. But for $499 you could get so much more from something else, not tomorrow but today. Maybe I will revisit the PlayBook when its QNX OS is mature, but for now I’ll stick with mobile devices running non-beta operating systems.

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Arthur Bartlett

Arthur Bartlett is a former contributor at Pocketables.

Avatar of Arthur Bartlett

10 thoughts on “Why I returned my BlackBerry PlayBook

  • Avatar of D T
    May 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm
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    First of all, it’s QNX, and not QNIX. Second, QNX as an OS is mature, as it has been used in mission critical applications for years before RIM purchased it. QNX has a RTOS unix flavour has been well known in the computer science and industrial application for over a decade.

    I am not sure what RIM names the Playbook OS as I have paid too much attention to it. May be there is some confusion there. But nobody has blamed Android OS problem on Linux, and nobody has blamed iOS problem on bsd or Mach kernel or even NeXTStep, even those those are the roots of the modern systems.

    Pocketables has always been my favourite blog site for mobile devices, and I applaud the recent merger of the site. I just hope the technical excellence is not going to slide.

    Otherwise I don’t necessary disagree with the context of this article, I think it’s rather obvious.

    Reply
  • Avatar of D T
    May 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm
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    Correction: (Where is the edit button?)

    should be “have not paid too much attention”, and “QNX is a RTOS, a unix flavour”.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Arthur Bartlett
    May 20, 2011 at 1:13 am
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    You are correct, it’s “QNX” not “QNIX”. I made the correction. However, the post refers to the PlayBook’s QNX OS, not the QNX OS in general. I was certainly aware that QNX itself is a mature OS, but on the PlayBook it is not. Thank you for your comment.

    Reply
  • Avatar of gadgetfreaksta
    May 20, 2011 at 6:15 am
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    Why is this news? next you are going to tell us what you wear and eat?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Arthur Bartlett
    May 20, 2011 at 7:14 am
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    It’s not news, just simply my thoughts about why I returned the PlayBook. I thought some might find it useful. Apparently you didn’t and that’s ok. Oh and today is vacation day for me so I’m wearing shorts and a tee shirt.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Calob Horton
    May 20, 2011 at 7:21 am
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    It’s like buying an incredibly large and awesome house but you can’t put your furniture and home entertainment system inside. I.e., useless.

    Great post, Arthur. I agree with you all the way.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Aaron Waldron
    May 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm
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    The Blackberry Playbook is certainly an interesting device. I wouldn’t worry too much about the application and OS maturity, since those things will develop and aren’t necessarily terrible as they are. Being a RIM device, there will also be a nice modding community.

    However, what killed the Playbook for me was something incredibly simple. Memory. Without a micro SD slot, the device is useless to me. I own 27GB of music alone, and I would of course like to store movies on the device. This would require at least a total of about ~40GB, which to have, I would have to pay $700. That is out of the question.

    Every Blackberry I’ve ever held had a micro SD slot, and the Blackberries made it pretty standard. So why does this device, that is large for a 7″ device to begin with, lack it? RIM isn’t Apple, and I hate Apple for these practices as is.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Robin
    May 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm
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    I’m all for people using the devices that are right for them. For you it seems to be the Galaxy Tab. I agree that the Playbook is seriously lacking in apps, but maybe you could have been a little fairer in stating some of its assets that the Galaxy Tab lacks. How is the multitasking on the Tab? Have you suffered any random device reboots on it? Many people have recently been reporting this problem using multiple different devices. Seeing that you had both devices, what’s your opinion on the battery life comparison? I kept my Playbook because I wanted to support the future of this OS. Just to be fair, I would have bought a Tab if Samsung hadn’t removed the core phone feature of the device in North America.

    Reply
  • Avatar of D T
    May 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm
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    http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/

    Why did you insist on calling the Playbook OS “QNX”, when RIM calls it The Playbook Tablet OS, and RIM only considers the QNX as what it is based on, as a matter of fact, QNX isn’t even the name of the OS, but instead it is based on the RTOS called Neutrino, where QNX is the company that makes the various flavours of the OS, and got bought out by RIM.

    So when you claimed that “the QNX OS is not mature”, you are not talking about the Playbook OS, because it is not what RIM called it.

    That is the exact reason why I used iOS, Android as comparison references so you can see the correlation there, where I said nobody blamed bsd, Mach kernel, or NeXTStep for what iOS is today, or Linux kernel for what Android is today. But I know you have ignored all that and insisted that the Playbook OS = QNX.

    All new platforms are immature, nothing surprising here. But when you used what the base core as the named culprit, then a distinction should especially be made here. I am sure all the engineers at QNX would want to hear that distinction also.

    I’m not trying to split hair here. I just finally found out that (by simple Google search) that RIM doesn’t call this OS “QNX”, and I think we should simply respect that.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Arthur Bartlett
    May 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm
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    I’m not ignoring your comment, a simple Google search yields the following statement from BlackBerry: “Building on the incredible power of the QNX operating system that’s uniquely suited for tablet computing….” See http://us.blackberry.com/developers/tablet/. So even BlackBerry refers to a QNX operating system. In the future I will refer to the PlayBook’s OS as The PlayBook Tablet OS. Thank you for your comment.

    Reply

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