Comparing New PlayBook To iPad

Photo courtesy RIM-BlackBerry

We’ve seen so many companies attempt to follow the trail Apple blazed with the iPhone, and now we’re seeing the pattern once again with the iPad. Many tablets were branded as “copycats” by Steve Jobs shortly after the iPad 2 launch. The latest iPad 2 contender is BlackBerry’s PlayBook. Last week Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind BlackBerry, announced the PlayBook is available for pre-order from your nearest Best Buy (or, and will be in stores April 19.

The PlayBook was one of many that jumped on the tablet bandwagon at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. For RIM, the PlayBook isn’t just another BlackBerry, it’s a whole new concept. According to RIM, it’s “the world’s first professional-grade tablet with an ultra-portable design that delivers industry-leading performance, uncompromised Web browsing with support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, true multi-tasking, HD multimedia, advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a robust development environment.”

Hardware-wise the PlayBook is somewhat similar to Apple’s iPad 2. They both come in 16GB/32GB/64GB storage sizes with the same respective $499/$599/$699 pricing points, have front and rear HD cameras and contain dual 1 GHz processors. The PlayBook is smaller and thinner with a 7-inch screen/0.4-inch thickness, versus the iPad 2’s 9.7-inch screen/0.34-inch thickness. Personally, I’d rather have the slightly bigger screen if I’m going to take it on an airplane as my entertainment source.

The PlayBook in the future will be 4G capable and will run on the Sprint network, while the iPad 2 is only 3G capable and runs on AT&T and Verizon. It should be interesting to see what happens in the near future with the recent AT&T/T-Mobile merger – I think that will give the iPad 2 a greater advantage.

Looking at the software, the PlayBook uses the BlackBerry Tablet OS (QNX), and BlackBerry App World, yet I just don’t see much viable content. Rumors have been flying about the possibility of running Android apps on the Playbook. This will be a must if the Playbook is to have a chance of competing against iPad app market.

Additionally, a big deal that some folks make about tablets is Flash support. Yes, the PlayBook does have Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (which the iPad 2 lacks), but it is slow and clunky, not really ready for “primetime.” Using a Flash player also has the tendency to reduce the battery life of a tablet.

For the business/enterprise user, the PlayBook will probably look more attractive than an iPad 2 because of the “out-of-the box enterprise support,” but keep in mind the iPad 2 supports Microsoft Exchange too. I use my iPad or iPad 2 all the time to check my company email and Microsoft Office attachments.

The bottom line is if you’re a diehard BlackBerry fan, and you have minimal needs (i.e., if you’ll primarily use it to surf the Internet and check email), the PlayBook is for you. Personally, since I actually make use out of the multitude of apps Apple offers, the iPad/iPad 2 is a better solution for me.

Click Chick’s Mobile App of the Week: Angry Birds Rio

If you’re a fan of the original Angry Birds App, you’ll love the latest Angry Birds Rio. In this game, the original Angry Birds are kidnapped and taken to Rio de Janeiro, where they eventually escape their captors and set out to save their friends Blu and Jewel (two rare macaws and the stars of the upcoming movie Rio).

Angry Birds Rio is as addicting as the previous games. This time around you’ll find 60 levels, completely new achievements and special hidden fruits.

If you’re using an Apple product, I suggest purchasing the Angry Birds Rio HD version ($2.99) so you don’t see the pop-up ads. If you don’t mind the ads, there is a free version with fewer levels, or a version for 99 cents that contains ads. It is available on the iTunes App Store or the Android Market.