Since I am currently an iPad user (thanks to FNO at Kate Spade) but not 100% convinced that it is the best touch device on the market, I really wanted to check out the Blackberry Playbook launch in person! Unfortunately, since it conflicted with my professional life I wasn’t able to attend. Fortunately I was able to send my fab cousin, Kevin Lee, to scope out the event and give me the inside scoop to all the happenings of the event. Check out his guest post below.
Arriving on the scene in the Meatpacking district to a dark building complete with a heavy set security guard out front was quite intimidating. It was also quite weird to be in front of a lounge in broad daylight and sober. As I entered the dark hallway I wondered what to expect from this Blackberry Playbook Press Event.
I was warmly greeted by Adriana, a friend of Erin’s who was very nice and smiley. I told her the situation - Erin can’t make it, so instead she sent her handsome, charming and quick witted (and single) cousin. I was ushered into the event room without a hitch. First thing I noticed was that by wearing a bright rainbow checkered shirt I stood out in a sea of New York black.
The room looked nice and full of trees, hanging benches and lots of natural daylight - though surveying the room all I could see were suits, I guess most of the attendees were tech-savvy / business people, you know those non-artsy types who stress about numbers all day. So is BB’s first foray into the tablet market supposed to be aimed at these people? You know the ones that are anti-Apple but want to wait for the Blackberry brand cuz they are so addicted their Crackberry, sorry Android, you lose. We’d soon find out.
With no cute boys to really ogle, I headed to the first place where I knew there had to be a hot guy - the bar. At these events the bartenders are always hot, and bartenders flirt with EVERYONE. No exception here - the bartender was sure a hottie, he was slinging out Blackberry inspired cocktails which were fruity and yummy. After quickly downing a cocktail I felt a bit more at ease.
I pounced on Alex, a rep from Blackberry, to talk about the PlayBook and test it out firsthand. The first thing he showed me was the game Need For Speed. Really? A game? If he read me right the first thing he would’ve shown me is the new Lady Gaga video on YouTube or a Judy Garland performance. This tablet supports flash - so for those of you who have websites with flash, put away that iPad and flash (haha) one of these babies to show it off in full glory! (Note from Erin: While iPad’s don’t run flash but the YouTube app for iPad runs most YouTube videos without too many problems)
The PlayBook is thinner than the iPad and also smaller (7-inch screen) which I found to be nicer than the iPad, as it could easily fit into one of my pockets (well one of my coat pockets). The back is a soft rubber, and not the shiny plastic variety that can get scratched up easily.
Yet another advantage over the iPad? Two cameras – one in the back and one in the front, both shoot HD video. The back camera is 5 mega pixels while the front is 3 -not great but not bad either. Check out how the camera looks on the above left.
While I think the touch screen sensitivity is a bit better on the iPad, PlayBooks will improve with future software upgrades. I’m also told that it will be much easier for developers to make applications for the Playbook as well. Currently Java support is in the works. Overall I was quite impressed with it, though personally I’d hold out for the new iPad 2 (because I love Apple and dislike everything else), but if you feel the same way about your Blackberry than this tablet is definitely for you. Also a great option if you’re looking for something a little more portable to take with you on the go.
With the hard part of my job finished I went back to the hottie bartender, stuffed my mouth with some delicious canapés, swigged another cocktail and headed out on my way. Blackberry Playbook, you were pretty cool, I’d touch you again for sure, call me.
Release date and pricing TBD.