After the flux of tablets debuted at the consumer electronics show just one month ago, I was surprised to recently find a tablet I had not yet become familiar with; the Blackberry PlayBook. Of course, the first thing that came to mind “Is this going to be the iPad killer everyone’s been expecting?”
Doing more research, I found that the functionality of the Blackberry PlayBook is very similar to that of the iPad. Where the PlayBook differs is where it may have the most impact on college students. First and foremost PlayBook supports Adobe Flash. For anyone who’s tried to watch a Flash video or access any Flash content on the iPad you already know the frustration. PlayBook’s ability to give users a full web experience means never missing content, viewing videos on class websites, opening embedded documents, and maybe being able to view a cool Flash site, or play a game in your off time between classes.
Another feature of the PlayBook that really caught my eye is the ability to wirelessly tether the tablet to a BlackBerry. With a Bluetooth connection, you can access anything on your phone through the tablet. Using the Bluetooth connection, you can sync all of the information you enter on your phone with your tablet, and vice versa. When I’m running out of class I can quickly enter homework assignments and important dates on my phone and have it all sync up with my PlayBook without duplicating anything. You can even access the BBM on your phone using the PlayBook, so you can still message all of your friends.
These two features will help set the BlackBerry PlayBook apart from the iPad. Sadly, Research in Motion has delayed the release of the PlayBook, originally scheduled for March 2011, and now rescheduled for May 2011.
With most campuses encouraging or sponsoring the use of the iPad for classwork and for reading digital textbooks, do you think the PlayBook has the ability to kill the iPad? Which tablet would you choose?