Is RIM planning to bet on a larger Playbook?

Research in Motion, or simply RIM, is still struggling to get back up after being thrown away by the era. The company that created the BlackBerry, previously known as the smartest phone out there, was outsmarted by Apple’s iPhone. It later on suffered damages from Android’s rise to fame, and now, RIM is down to 7% market share in the 2nd quarter of this year. This number has dwindled even further since 2011.

It almost expected that RIM’s BlackBerry line will disappear into obscurity. Even the loyal fans have given up, as they are moving on to the more feature packed smartphones of today. In fact, the only reason RIM and their BlackBerry line is even included in any analysis is just so that it can be compared to what was previously great. In the end, it makes the BlackBerry seem even less attractive as people encounter the numbers.

The main problem of the BlackBerry was its entire OS. While it is still the most secure around, it is completely outdated. The Blackberry OS has been stagnant for so many years, that they did not know what to do when Apple launched the iOS.

In an effort to get into the growing tablet space that was introduced by the iPad, Blackberry launched the Playbook. It was a cheaper tablet that runs on a Playbook OS. It was a play at making an OS, then using a different OS’s ecosystem to sustain itself. The Playbook ability to run Android Apps was just too obvious a hint that they really have no idea what to do to make an OS worthy of the era.

Now, it is reported that they will try yet again to hit the tablet market, and this time, with a larger Playbook. While the 7-inch version remains stagnant, RIM decides to enter the tablet market again with 10-inches and a completely different screen aspect ratio. It can be speculated that it will sport a different OS, possibly the long delayed BBX, or BlackBerry OS 10.

According to the reports of the leak, the internals of the new Playbook look strikingly similar to the first one. One can’t help but wonder if the large screen size was all that was updated in terms of hardware. I certainly hope not if this ever sees the light of day. Just think about all the unsatisfied customers.

At the very least, something to look forward to is that it RIM may be planning to add 4G support to the new 10-inch as well as for the refresh of the 7-inch Playbook. Hopefully, RIM will be able to get back on their feet.

So RIM is launching a new Playbook that no one is excited about and an OS that keeps getting delays. Seems like a struggle to me. RIM is certainly refusing to hang up their gloves. They still want to try making their own OS, while still maintaining Android connectivity. Why don’t they just downright us Android, right?

If the mass lay-off was not an indication of dark times, then I don’t know what is. Maybe it is time RIM left the smartphone scene for good. At their current state, it is highly unlikely that they will be missed.

Will you consider getting the new Playbook or do you think it’s time to hang up the gloves?

Image sources: slashgear.com, cio.com

The Great E-reader Roundup

By Simon Munk for Style + Tech For Men

Books have taken a backseat to e-readers in the digital era. But with a bewildering range of gadgets — from the Apple iPad to the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook — how do you know which one offers the best story for consumers? Our head-to-head e-book bash-up will give you a great read on the situation.

Apple iPad

from $499 | Apple.com

If you’re looking for something more than just an e-reader, then read no further. Wait, we have more to tell you! It fares brilliantly on its reading assignments … if you don’t mind a little screen-glare. Any LED screen is going to fare badly compared to e-ink on that score. But the iPad is capable of so much more than its e-reader rivals. First, it’s agnostic to any bookstore. It takes in apps from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and its own iBooks resource. Second, along with being able to surf the Web, it serves up games, comics and thousands of apps. Third, in terms of raw power and storage, it’s got more on those scores than any competitor. The price is another weak point, but since it’s the most fully-featured e-reader, it’s still tough to beat.

Verdict: Best all-around tablet that beats most e-readers.
Rating: FIVE BOOKMARKS

Amazon Kindle

from $139 | Amazon.com

Absolutely the best e-reader on the bookshelf — that is, if you’re not looking for any bells and whistles. The Kindle boasts an exceptional 6-inch e-ink screen, as well as a reduced size and weight that bring it close to a digital paperback in portability. According to Amazon, its storage capacity has also doubled to 3,500 books. Plus, the Kindle now comes in Wi-Fi, or Wi-Fi and 3G flavors — so you can instantly buy, download and read books just about anywhere. There’s also a new experimental Web browser, but the Kindle is really best for e-reading. Its page interface is easier and more pleasurable to read than any competitor’s, and the access to the Amazon store makes your reading list almost endless.

Verdict: Just looking to read? Look no further.
Rating: FIVE BOOKMARKS

NOOKcolor

$249 | BarnesAndNoble.com

The first mainstream color e-reader makes your mandatory reading list just in time for the holidays. Barnes & Noble’s NOOKcolor features Wi-Fi, an eight-hour reading battery and a 7-inch color screen that can display not just books, but also magazines, the Web and videos. It’ll even display some Android apps. It’s more than a standard e-reader, but also a bit less than a fully-featured tablet computer. Screen-wise, it suffers the same problems as the iPad: glare and a lack of smoothness in its text display. On top of that, it struggles to reconfigure larger magazines and newspaper pages (as well as many websites that haven’t formatted for mobile viewing) to its smaller, more pocket-friendly screen. Ultimately, the NOOKcolor is good for reading books and some other things — but until B&N sorts out a proper app store to support it, it’s not as much of a multimedia marvel as some of its competitors.

Verdict: Halfway between e-reader and tablet, but not quite either.
Rating: FOUR BOOKMARKS

Blackberry PlayBook
$TBA | Us.Blackberry.com

Due out this spring, the PlayBook will be BlackBerry’s effort to produce fresher fruit than the iPad. It’s more powerful than the iPad on paper — with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB memory and full Web support for Flash and HTML5. But it’s got a smaller, 7-inch screen and entirely new operating system software … so no existing BlackBerry apps will run on it. Even more troubling, Blackberry doesn’t have a great reputation for multimedia and user-friendly features, so it’s a bit of a leap for them to move from hardcore email and smartphones to mainstream consumer tablets. How good is it as an e-reader? We’ll have wait and see.

Verdict: The dark horse in the e-reader race, the PlayBook will have to amaze in order to gain top tablet honors.
Rating: THREE BOOKMARKS

Photo Credits: iPad, Kindle, NOOKColor, Blackberry PlayBook – Getty Images

iPad Image Courtesy of Apple Inc.

Simon Munk is an award-winning journalist that specializes in consumer technology, video games and outdoor-product coverage for men. He’s written for Stuff and Blender magazines and was launch editor in chief of Stuff Gamer.




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