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RIM Should NOT Make a 10" PlayBook

May 5 2011, 3:22pm CDT | by , in Rumors | Tablets

RIM Should NOT Make a 10" PlayBook

Let's think about this.

Good Idea: Take the BlackBerry brand into the future by launching a tablet based around QNX and featuring a next-gen edge-to-edge gesture based UI. Keep the display size to 7", so it still fits inside a pants pocket or (more easily) inside the inner pocket of a jacket. The PlayBook is smaller than an iPad, and that makes it much more convenient for many uses. You can carry this tablet around all day without needing an additional bag or man-purse to do it. The PlayBook's higher-than-expected sales are proof that customers are interested in a tablet as mobile as they are.

RIM is the first company since Apple to hit on a mass commercially viable tablet. The device could break 6 million units moved this year. And that is in spite of mixed reviews and a variety of missing features. Right now, the PlayBook looks like it might actually be the success RIM needs. So why would they risk changing up a winning formula?

Bad Idea: Change the PlayBook from an iPad-alternative with a different form factor and focus and turn it into direct competition by boosting that display to 10". BGR has heard that RIM plans to release a second PlayBook with a larger screen this year. This is a terrible, no good, very bad idea for several reasons. Which I will helpfully list below:

1. People will avoid buying the PlayBook. The more credible rumors of a 10" PlayBook become, the more likely customers are to wait until the PlayBook 2 hits.

2. People won't want a 10" PlayBook as much as a 7" PlayBook. When I first started toying around with the 7" form-factor, I thought it was a gimmick. But the PlayBook has revised my opinion. While the button configuration up top isn't ideal for pants carry, I find myself sticking this tablet in a front pocket or the side pocket of my cargo pants whenever I'm out and working. The PlayBook is SO MUCH more pleasant for email, browsing and IMing than my smartphone. And it is small enough to carry around without needing an extra bag.

This is a huge plus for both private and business users. If you're talking about some tech-phobic exec who hates the added time and inconvenience of dealing with a laptop for frequent jet-setting, the PlayBook is a perfect productive compromise. Add a Bluetooth keyboard and you can do everything the average user needs to do. All without requiring any more than a couple of jacket pockets.

I think people will find a larger PlayBook far less desirable. And I think it could hurt sales of the original model, especially in the weeks before the sequel's holiday launch.

3. There are still issues with the PlayBook. Many of them. The lack of native email and contacts app support is a big issue. The browser is buggy. Flash is completely unreliable. RIM has so much to do before the PlayBook is really 'done'. I can't imagine anything less wise than focusing on another, slightly larger version instead of fixing the current model.

I've reached out to RIM over this issue. As usual, they won't comment on rumors or speculation. They aren't willing to divulge total current PlayBook sales, but the rep I spoke with did confirm that they will be revealed in the Q1 earnings call.

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