COMMENTARY | BlackBerry manufacturer RIM hasn’t quite crossed the threshold set by HP’s $99 fire sale of its TouchPad tablet. but its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet dropped to the $199 mark on the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has been the subject of numerous promotions aimed at businesses, such as a buy-two-get-one-free offer. [...]
COMMENTARY | BlackBerry manufacturer RIM hasn’t quite crossed the threshold set by HP’s $99 fire sale of its TouchPad tablet. but its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet dropped to the $199 mark on the weekend of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has been the subject of numerous promotions aimed at businesses, such as a buy-two-get-one-free offer.
In a December 2 press release, RIM announced that it was writing off $485 million in unsold PlayBooks for the third quarter of 2012, an amount that Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum estimates amounts to about 1.4 million tablets. the question is, where did RIM go wrong with the PlayBook?
Mixed marketing messages
“Amateur hour is over,” the PlayBook‘s early ads announced, in an obvious jab at the iPad … and all others besides “the world’s first professional-grade tablet.” but if its “Amplified BlackBerry Experience” didn’t win over corporate customers, many of which are now investigating internal iPad deployments, its widely-touted ability to play Need for Speed at the same time as HD movies didn’t impress the IT department either. Meanwhile, its enterprise features like BlackBerry messaging were lost on the crowd at Best buy.
Lack of unique features
Besides a seeming confusion over whether it was targeting businesses or home users, the PlayBook’s inability to set itself apart from other tablets didn’t help matters either. It promised Adobe Flash web browsing, but so did every Android tablet; and it offered “True Multitasking,” but for some reason that never captured people’s attention.
The PlayBook’s most distinctive feature was actually an anti-feature: Its inability to access your email, calendar, and contacts without being connected to a BlackBerry smartphone. RIM has promised to solve this in a February update, but that will leave almost a year that it will have been on the market without them.
Lack of quality apps and content
App developers like Jamie Murai were turned off by RIM’s requirements for PlayBook developers, including a convoluted process to install the necessary tools and a notarized proof of identity that had to be physically mailed to RIM. Partly because of this, the PlayBook suffered from a dearth of apps.
Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble were able to achieve success in the tablet market by selling half-sized e-readers, each tied to their online bookstores and to services like Netflix. but with few big-name content partnerships, the PlayBook was all dressed up with nothing to read or watch.
The PlayBook isn’t the iPad
The iPad continues to not only define the tablet category, but break its own records in sales. Any tablet that isn’t the iPad has an uphill battle to fight to gain traction … the BlackBerry PlayBook included.
Where Did the BlackBerry PlayBook Go Wrong?
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