The trade press immediately publish a feature by feature comparison with the iPad, and miss the point, again.
The hardware centric tech press universally predicted that the iPhone and iPad would fail miserably, because other hardware had more technical capabilities, more connections, fewer restrictions.
Most missed the fact that it is the software that determines the success of a product. The ability of the software to meet the needs of a segment of the market will determine which system wins.
Although RIM does not actually have a shipping device, they have included some very interesting software innovations.
- The Blackberry OS has been replaced by QNX (shades of Apple replacing a creaking OS 9 with a BSD UNIX OS for the Mac) which will provide the quick, small footprint, multitasking environment that will make it an easy platform to support.
- The very meagre software development environment and developer unfriendly environment of the Blackberry is gone, replaced with options that include HTML5 and AJAX or Java. This should make it easy for developers to develop apps.
- The hardware which is missing is the 3G connection, however RIM have included the seamless ability to tether the PlayBook to a Blackberry for network access. A great low cost lock in for Blackberry users.
RIM may have produced the software environment that can be customized to meet the needs of its significant niche (about 40% of the smart phone market).