In a tightly contested tablet landscape, RIM has started its journey by recalling 1,000 units of its flagship PlayBook tablet due to a faulty OS.
CrackBerry reported that about 1,000 16GB PlayBook tablets were shipped with a faulty OS build that could have resulted in initial hiccups in loading software. Most of the recalled tablets were still in the distribution channel and had not reached the customers.
RIM's flagship tablet PlayBook is touted to be an enterprise friendly tablet, which has received good reviews for its user interface, multi-tasking capabilities and superior hardware specifications.
PlayBook sports a 7-inch screen with 1024x600 screen resolution. It uses the new OS, QNX, instead of the BlackBerry OS which supports RIM's range of smartphones. RIM bought QNX Software Systems, a maker of real-time operating systems, in April 2010. QNX created the Neutrino real-time operating system, the software adapted from the automobile industry to power Bluetooth integration and device connectivity.
In a bid to fight for space against HP's webOS, Android 3.0 or and Apple's iOS, RIM has introduced a new OS in QNX with its PlayBook tablets. The current recall pertains to OS build, which does not bode well for RIM as its new OS is still at a nascent stage.
Powered by a TI OMAP dual-core chip, RIM's PlayBook weighs 0.9 pounds and is 0.4 inch thick. It also sports a 5 MP rear-facing and 3 MP front-facing cameras.
As part of its enterprise friendliness, the PlayBook offers a feature called BlackBerry Syncing, which allows it to be in sync with a BlackBerry device over Bluetooth. After the sync, the PlayBook just becomes an extension of a BlackBerry phone.
However, despite its praise-worthy features, PlayBook has not done enough to beat Apple's sequel to iPad, the iPad 2. The tablet has been blamed for not offering native e-mail integration. It can be optimized in conjunction with BlackBerry mobile using the BlackBerry Bridge feature which enables users to access BlackBerry phone content on PlayBook.
Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, said, The PlayBook is a race car that's missing a wheel; the PlayBook is a powerful device with solid hardware, lighter and more compact than the iPad. But by requiring a Bluetooth connection to a BlackBerry phone for basic applications like email, calendar, and IM, RIM has sacrificed consumer-friendliness for CIO peace-of-mind.
Apple's iPad 2 launch in China saw serpentine queues and a violent scuffle to get hold of the popular device. In comparison to Apple's smooth launch of its slimmer, lighter and faster rendition of iPad, the iPad 2, RIM's launch seems to have hit an impediment with the 1,000 unit recall.
And it's not just iPad 2 that RIM is competing with, but there are a gamut of devices like Android Honeycomb-based Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and 8.9 and HP's TouchPad. Not only this, there are a host of other Andorid tablets vying for a competitive edge. In such a competitive landscape, RIM PlayBook's recall just adds to a list of other issues stacked up against PlayBook like it has been derided for its anemic apps store and it has been a half-evolved product.