BlackBerry creator Research in Motion (RIM) is hitting the iPad where it hurts ahead of the planned release of its PlayBook mobile device. In a new YouTube video, the company puts both devices side by side to compare web browsing experiences. Naturally, the examples shown make the PlayBook look far superior to the Apple device. But this isn’t the whole story.
First, we are shown three web sites (including RIM’s own) that clearly load faster on the PlayBook. The moderator indicates that both devices were cleared of their web cache and are using the same Wi-Fi connection. Let us assume this is correct and score one for the PlayBook.
Next, BlackBerry shows a Flash-enabled web site (adidas.com) on both devices. Obviously the site (which is written entirely in Flash) looked better on the PlayBook. However, most websites are no longer using Flash exclusively (thanks to the popularity of the iPad) so this wasn’t a fair test. BlackBerry (and every other mobile device creator) is going to highlight the inclusion of Flash on its devices as a selling point. However, what they don’t tell you is that Flash can gobble up precious battery life too. This is one of the reasons Apple decided not to allow it on its mobile devices in the first place.
In addition to not mentioning the battery life issues apparent with Flash, BlackBerry naturally left out a few other details. For example, the PlayBook is considerably smaller than the iPad. Think of its size as somewhere between an iPhone and iPad. This might be important to many customers.
Next, BlackBerry failed to do a comparison between its own App World and Apple’s App Store. According to Wikipedia, the former currently has 10,000 apps. In comparison, the App Store has 300,000 apps and counting.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to debut early next year and will be priced around $500. It will be interesting to see what Apple has to say about all of this.