Reaction Roundup: what reviewers are saying about the PlayBook, BlackBerry’s venture into the tablet market

Reaction Roundup: what reviewers are saying about the PlayBook, BlackBerry’s venture into the tablet market

Tuesday’s launch of RIM’s PlayBook tablet failed to generate the hordes of tech-hungry, frothing-at-the-mouth geeks that are de rigueur at Apple events (see: 2, iPad). Tech critics, it seems, echoed consumers’ blasé reaction by sending out a resounding “meh.” The general consensus seems be that this tablet is solid, but not sensational. Here, a roundup of some of the key reactions to the BlackBerry maker’s newest contraption.

• The Globe and Mail decided to get tech-y with its musings, running a video review of the new tablet. In it, technology reporter Omar El Akkad offers a measured take on the RIM initiative, praising its quality fundamentals—great hardware, nice touch screen, powerful operating system—while bemoaning the lack of apps and myriad minor glitches.

• Marc Saltzman at the Star’s Buck ’n Bytes blog also provides a relatively neutral critique, calling the PlayBook “a very impressive piece of hardware with a few annoying shortcomings.” Saltzman whinges that it’s difficult it is to access email on the device and that there’s no 3G version of the PlayBook—meaning you can’t get online on the GO Train, the streetcar or the other places BlackBerry owners use to maximize their productivity.

• The New York Times opens its review by decrying the onslaught of new tablets, but then admits that the PlayBook is worth a look—which, in and of itself, is something of an endorsement. Still, the headline—“A BlackBerry Tablet, but Where Are the Apps?”—certainly won’t help woo the geek crowd away from Apple.

• The San Francisco–based tech site GigaOm approached the tablet from a consumer perspective and broke the device down into 10 key categories—but still hit the same note as other critiques: the PlayBook is a decent product, but still lacks the iPad 2’s overall polish. Though writer Om Malik did have one memorable gripe: “The deal breaker for me is the lack of independent communication tools… to leave out a stand-alone email client makes little or no sense.”

• BlackBerry PlayBook launches quietly in Toronto [Toronto Star]
• Early PlayBook sales exceed expectations [Financial Post]
BlackBerry PlayBook impressive, but needs work []
• Playbook: Great video, browsing, and a lot of glitches [Globe and Mail]
• A BlackBerry Tablet, but Where Are the Apps? [New York Times]
• BlackBerry Tablet, PlayBook, a Notable Debut []