AGNERDS – Review of the Blackberry Playbook

The Blackberry Playbook was delayed in coming to the market but the challenges have not ended there.  What is interesting is that the Playbook seems to be garnering the either “love it” or “hate it” feelings.  Some of the mainstream tech media has reported that it was released to quickly but from some of the people that talk to us at RealAgriculture.com, they really like it.  One person even said to me that he likes it way better than his Ipad.  This seems crazy me because I love the Ipad but to each his own desires.

In Episode 5 of our AGNERDS series, Peter Gredig and I discuss the Blackberry Playbook.

  • How is the battery?
  • Does it have 3G
  • What is the coolest thing about it?
  • Does it tether to your Blackberry phone?
  • Is the camera a good one?
  • What is the video player like?
  • What makes it different than the Ipad?
  • What is it missing?

If you cannot see the below embedded video, click here

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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6 Comments

Philip Shaw

Interesting view on the Playbook. I thought it intriguing with regard to Peter’s view of the size, which he liked. Apple maintains that a tablet can’t be that small, to be successful, so its obvious that not everybody feels that way. I asked one women why she bought a Playbook vs an iPad, and she said the Playbook fit into her purse. Also too, Apple thinks flash enabled is a great disadvantage, while some think its a must for a tablet. Playbook has it. I have an iPad, but I was taken aback when Playbook launched. There was no buzz, no nothing, I went into the store to see it and had to ask somebody where it was. There was nobody there. RIM is surely having there problems now, partly because of Apple and Google’s Android. We’ll see how it pans out, and if increased sales happen

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Michael J. Willms

To give you a little info on my background, I started farming on my own when I was eighteen. I was also a PC user right from the start and a die hard one at that. All of the Mac users drove me crazy with their “better” computer system. That was all until I tried a Mac. At this point you could not get me to buy a PC no matter how little it costs. I still use one at work because that is what the company is using but really I hardly touch it. I use my iPad 90% of the time as it will do most anything I need it to for my application. Anything else I could easily do on a Mac laptop if it was available to me from work. This may cloud my judgment of the BlackBerry Playbook but here are my thoughts anyway.

To start with I have been given a BlackBerry phone for work and because I am so used to the iPhone I really HATE the BlackBerry. BBM is highly overrated in my opinion. Other than the ability to know if someone has received and read your message it is just another form of texting. With all of the excellent texting plans out there who needs BBM. Email and web browsing is by far better on the iPhone. Contacts are much easier to organize as are email folders etc.

Now on to the Playbook. It is a scaled down version of the iPad which has too small a screen for my liking. Talk about video, PlayBook has nothing on the iPad. In fact I don’t find it to be as nice due to it’s size. It’s like an overgrown phone and doesn’t really fit in either world.

I think you need to have a phone for quick simple access to texts and email and of course phone calls. A phone is also useful to take quick pictures and/or video when out and about (who would want to try to use a PlayBook or iPad for that?). Where the iPad is handy is to respond to larger emails, view PDF documents as well as spreadsheets, word processor documents and presentations. That being said why would you want something as small as a PlayBook just so you can “use your thumbs” to type? The iPad is the perfect size. It’s not a phone and not a laptop.

Yes the PlayBook is Flash enabled which the iPad is lacking but Flash is highly overrated as well. There is no need to use Flash on websites any more to speed up access time as the latest web programing techniques are able to do the same without it. If anything I find Flash enabled sites take more time to view than non Flash sites these days.

Don’t get me started with Apps. The iPad rules this domain as well!

Tethering? Who needs it? Get a plan that shares data.

Multitasking? I have had absolutely no trouble on my iPad. I can listen to music, surf the web, receive email all at the same time without fail. Can I have more than one “window” open at the same time to view? No but who needs to on a tablet type device?

GPS navigation? PlayBook not too sure, iPad is awesome.

Yes I have become a Mac Geek and I could go on and on. I must say it’s good that there are different options out there as it encourages Apple to continually improve their product. 🙂

Reply
Pete the AgNerd

Hey Michael – good comments. Agree that PlayBook is in tough to compete with the iPad. I would say that the operating system on the PB is far and away the best aspect of the device. Ironically, RIM did not build the QNX operating system used on PB – they bought it. It’s fantastic. The problem is that many of the other elements that RIM was responsible for are not up to the standard of the operating system. You raised the issue of GPS – so far, PB performance on this front has been disappointing.

Pete

Reply
Ivor Bernatsky

I agree with most of Peter’s comments.
I bought a 32 GB Playbook and expect it will get full so soon primarily due to the big ND video files it creates. Awesome sound & video quality but big files and I doubt I can make them into lower res files.
Cool feature I did not hear about is the video chat – downside it is like BBM and only playbook to playbook.
I don’t see many out there – I have heard “is that a playbook? I haven’t seen one yet…” a few times and probably have seen 3-4 times more Ipads than Playbooks.
I tried to buy an IPAD for someone in the office to use so we can compare and was asked politely if I would wait until IPad 3 comes out because of speed and lack of flash of Ipad 2.
I agree the apps are lacking and reviews of new apps are slow to be posted. I was initially dissappointed that I could not find a flipping book app for pdfs (brochures etc) but realized the pdf viewer looks very sharp and professional.
I think tethering is a great feature in Western Canada as I don’t believe the 3G wireless network is everywhere. 3G wireless is fine in populated corridors but we have many very unpopulated corridors too.
I think the Playbook launch will go down as one of the worst in history. It was rushed, lacked a solid marketing campaign (proportionate to its significance to its importance to RIM). RIM thought selling the Playbook was just like a new verison of a smart phone.
I am really surprised that there is not more discussion about all the new tablets coming onto the market. The ones I have seen are TERRIBLE and not anywhere close to either IPad or Playbook. It is like comparing a Lexus, a Cadillac and a box with wheels painted on in crayon.

Reply
Michael J. Willms

I would certainly agree that if you plan on using a PlayBook or iPad for any amount of picture and video files you should definately get the 64 GB one. My iPad is only a 16GB version which is fine but I wish that I had purchased the 64 GB one this past March. I was fortunate enough to be part of a volunteer group that went to Cambodia for two weeks. None of us wanted to drag a laptop around but viewing pictures on a camera is not the easiest. With my iPad I was able to download a lot of the groups pictures to view which was fantastic but I ran out of room.

Ivor, I still have the first generation iPad and I am not disappointed in the speed even though it is much slower than the iPad 2. I would have gladly let you try mine. I also don’t find the lack of Flash to be much of an issue anymore either. Flash is not the standard in my opinion as most websites are moving away from it as well. When it comes to PDF files I absolutely love my iPad. I can organize my PDF files into various different folders and they are so easy to view. As I work for an agricultural equipment manufacturer as a Territory Manager, I like to have a copy of all of our equipment operator/parts manuals, updates, programs, pricing, etc at my fingertips. I do not like to carry a large stack of binders around with me and laptops are so cumbersome in comparison to my iPad. With the iPad you can read full pages at a time with ease due to it’s size and if you need to zoom in on a drawing etc it is so fast and easy to do.

3G/Tethering? In my travels I frequently end up in unpopulated areas of Alberta and at times in Saskatchewan. I cannot speak for areas in Manitoba but in Alberta and Saskatchewan I have not had much trouble getting service on my iPad and where I did have trouble I also did not have cell service period. With the iPad you can tether as well but you are not tied down to it as you are with the PlayBook but honestly I have not had the need to tether anyway.

As far as video conferencing is concerned with the iPad 2 you can use FaceTime which is excellent but at this time I believe it is still limited to WiFi. You can also use Skype which works quite well (saved me a lot of money when I was in Cambodia) and there are various other apps that can be used. I believe there is a Cisco app designed for the iPad to do just that.

As I mentioned previously, I do not dislike the PlayBook but to me it is still no match for the iPad as a tablet device. I find the iPad much more versatile and much nicer to view. It’s not too big and not too small. For example my wife can keep an iPad in her purse very easily even though her purse is not that large. I have mine in a nice leather case and carry it with me wherever I go.

Reply
Ivor Bernatsky

All good points Michael. Your points about pdf’s is exactly where we know we need to be for our clients. We put years of product sheets, brochures and pdfs into a digital searchable portfolio so the file box of brochures and stack of manuals is a thing of the past.
I expect both the ipad and Playbook will be valuable tools.
Again, I am glad to have both as viable options and suggest those who consider the new PC tablets think again.

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