RIM posted a new video of their PlayBook tablet to YouTube today:
They’re clearly going off in their own direction, away from the iPad and most of the Android tablet makers. The PlayBook appears to have been designed specifically as an physical extension of the BlackBerry smartphone.
Only it’s not really an extension of its apps and data: it’s an extension of its data connection and its set of trusted associations. If your BlackBerry is within range of the tablet, then this tablet will have secure and trusted relationships with all of your mail, contacts, and schedule data. And your corporate network will trust it just as much as your phone. The video shows the PlayBook connecting to a corporate server’s mobile apps, using a popular client system.
An interesting line from the video suggests that all of your PlayBook’s confidential data is removed from the device when the connection to the BlackBerry is broken.
(WHAT?!? You mean I have to have my BlackBerry handy? I need to drain two batteries?!?)
No, no. That’s only a dumb scheme if you think of the PlayBook as a consumer device, like the iPad. If they’re trying to sell them to IT managers instead of consumers, it’s an interesting play. To those folks, this invisible umbilical means that their lives won’t be complicated by a dumbass user (likely the kind who’s paid enough to own an estate with a living chessboard in which each of the game pieces is a painted giraffe) who loses a tablet somewhere.
It reinforces my impression of BlackBerry as the kind of OS device that people are issued as employees, as opposed to products that they purchase as free-willed consumers.
In any event, it looks as though RIM is employing the Joshua Tactic for entering an intensely-competitive marketplace. That’s the scheme where you tell yourself that “the only way to win is not to play.” If someone complains “the PlayBook is no iPad,” their immediate and correct response is “Yeah. Neither is a waffle iron. What’s your point?” We forget that it’s actually desirable for companies to make products that make sense for them and their customers.
I should point out that I know nothing about the PlayBook above what I’ve seen in videos. But conceptually…this is interesting.