Reaction Roundup: can the PlayBook software upgrade keep RIM in the tablet game?

Reaction Roundup: can the PlayBook software upgrade keep RIM in the tablet game?

With the PlayBook’s Hail Mary software upgrade now out the door, Research In Motion can only wait and hope it’s enough to save its much-maligned tablet. Judging by RIM’s stock performance after the release—the price rose in the morning, but ended the day slightly down, only to fall further yesterday—investors don’t seem ready to call it a winner. Tech and finance pundits also wavered, praising the new email and calendar apps, but slamming the lack of a BlackBerry Messenger app (are you listening, RIM? This is why people still love their Blackberries!). A roundup of what they’re all saying, after the jump.

1. Everyone still can’t believe RIM’s first attempt was so bad.
Nearly a year later, reviewers still can’t figure out why the PlayBook didn’t have native email when it first launched. Neither can we, especially since BlackBerry’s proprietary email system is what made the company famous in the first place.

2. The email, calendar and contacts are pretty damn good.
RIM is making up for earlier mistakes (see number one) with slick email, calendar and contacts apps. “Calendar revealed itself to be a well-designed, hyper-functional app that also incorporated my Google and Facebook schedules. I think I like this better than the iOS Calendar app,” wrote Gizmodo’s Adrian Covert.

3. Not including BlackBerry Messenger is a huge mistake
Considering how much BlackBerry users love their BBM, RIM blundered by not including it in this update. The folks at business news giant Forbes called the omission “a huge gaping hole” in the software that “needs to be addressed as soon as possible.” BBM’s value to enterprise customers accounts for close to 30 per cent of Forbes’ $16.50 price estimate for RIM stock.

4. Making Android apps available is a great idea, but poorly executed.
“The Android app compatibility is nice, but I don’t think it will be as seamless as it needs to be for real success,” Kevin Dede of Brigantine Advisors told the Toronto Star. Gizmodo’s Covert was less diplomatic about his struggle to locate Android apps in the BlackBerry app store: “As far as BlackBerry App World goes, it’s mostly full of garbage apps, so it’s only appropriate that the experience of navigating through it is also garbage.”

5. The upgrade is good, but it should have been revolutionary.
While the new features are neat, “the changes all represent minor improvements to a tablet that needed to take massive steps forward,” wrote Roger Cheng over at With competition from the iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet, Cheng argues this upgrade just isn’t enough to revive the PlayBook.


BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 Test Notes: Worth the Wait? [Gizmodo]
RIM Tries Again With Playbook, Fails To Impress [Forbes]
RIM PlayBook 2.0: Seriously sexy, or too little too late for RIM? [Toronto Star]
Sorry, PlayBook 2.0 still isn’t worth your money [CNET]