RIM Announces PlayBook Tablet – Batten Down The Hatches, We’ve Got A Real Tablet War On Our Hands!

We interrupt our ongoing series ME.Brand  – Personal Branding for the IT Professional, to announce the official commencement of what will become down as the Tablet Wars.
RIM's very own Mike Lazaridis announced the much anticipated (thankfully not called BlackPad) tablet from the Waterloo phone maker – the PlayBook, complete with multi-tasking, 1080p video and…wait for it….HDMI and USB ports! Take that Mr. Jobs.
Mike Lazaridis hoping developers buy into the new PlayBook.              (Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

This is of course, a very protectionist move by RIM who, if it did nothing, would seriously put into jeopardy their bread and butter corporate market, where their phones still dominate.  The promise of a Blackberry tablet that will leverage existing infrastructure and existing blackberry data plans should serve to at least slow, if not halt the encroachment by Apple of the corporate market and executive mind-share.  The most disappointing aspect of today's announcement is the time-frame when we can expect these devices – not before Q1 2011 will US customers be able to get their hands on them, and as late as Q2 for other markets. I can only imagine what Apple will continue to do over the next 6 months – and for RIM to not have this device available for the holiday season leaves the door wide open for Apple to be the only viable Tablet option this Christmas.  We could see close to 10 million tablets in consumer hands world wide by the time the dust settles in January – especially if Apple delivers on an iPad v2…which is entirely possible.
The Engadget has an initial writeup I recommend, as does our own CBC news – and you can be sure there will be more details to come over the weeks ahead.  Here's a promotional video which looks really good – again, until we can buy one, its still a magic unicorn…

Will be nice to have a legitimate alternative to the iPad…..but having to wait up to 6 months to get one is an eternity when you consider what the types of market share numbers the Apple iPad is racking up.  By then you can also be sure to have Android and Windows 7 alternatives in the marketplace…and perhaps even iPad 2.0.  Let's hope for RIM's sake that they'll have an update to the Torch out before then – otherwise this Black Friday, Apple might hit that tipping point in consumer mind-share that will be tough to chip away at.  Some think that time has already arrived. I'm not one of them.
Promises to be another great week – keep smiling, practice your ME.Brand elevator pitch and above all, keep Making IT Work! 
Pedro (drop me a line on LinkedIn)

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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