Could the Blackberry Playbook Provide Competition for the iPad?

The tablet PC market has been dominated to a great degree by Apple’s iPad. After all, everyone knows they can expect quality from Apple, and that anything with a lower-case I in front of it will provide an interface so friendly you’ll be tempted to take it home and introduce it to your parents. Now Blackberry have brought out a Playbook – could this be the beginning of the end for the iPad? Let’s have a look.

For the sake of this article, I compared two products that cost exactly the same at PC World – the Blackberry Playbook with a 32GB hard drive, and the Apple iPad 2, also with a 32GB hard drive. Both are £479 from PC World, although they may be cheaper elsewhere.

Let’s discuss the processors, first. Both units have a 1Ghz dual-core processor, which means you can expect a reasonable amount of processing power although, obviously, you are coping with a tablet PC and it’s not going to be your greatest gaming machine ever. Add to this the fact that the Playbook can handle Flash, and you would be facing a strong contender. However, the fact that the iPad has a Youtube app negates this reasonably effectively and essentially nullifies it for me as I rarely use Flash for any other reason.

Both units offer a front, and a back camera and the ability to take high-quality pictures as well as recording HD video. You can also expect the screens to be of high quality and watching films or TV on either tablet PC should be a joy with high resolution and fabulous touchscreen capability.

In terms of the screen, the Playbook loses out on over two and a half inches. Obviously, this make a sizeable difference when you’re talking about a unit that still offers only 9.7”, and if it’s the only real difference then it may well push you over in the direction of the iPad.

In terms of the operating system, Apple has proven its worth time and time again with user-friendly interfaces that help you figure things out easily and simplifies complex operations in a way that facilitates use without sacrificing the power of the applications or the complexity of the operations carried out. iPad users can count on this wonderful knack for interfacing and will enjoy an interface that’s easy to oversee and makes using the iPad an absolute joy.

It can unfortunately not be denied that the Playbook’s interface is a poor attempt at recreating this interface, and that the usability issues that plague the Blackberry PDAs come back to haunt the Playbook to an extent. So if ease of use is a deciding factor then, again, you’re looking at an iPad.

While the Playbook offers a respectable option that certainly won’t steer anyone too far wrong, the fact that it costs precisely the same as the iPad 2 makes it a no-brainer; buying the Playbook instead is simply being obtuse or bearing an unnecessary grudge against Apple for one reason or another. Do yourself a favour and buy the iPad – thank me later.

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