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back to article RIM PlayBook trumps new iPad in UK channel sales - analyst

RIM's once little-loved BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has outsold the latest iPad in Blighty's IT distribution channel, according to an analyst. More than 802,000 touchscreen tablets were sold in November and December compared to nearly 118,000 units in the same period of 2011 - and Apple accounted for just a quarter of this latest …

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no surprise there are getting to be more and more real good tablets for under 300$ out there. Don't need to spent money on a majorly marked up tablet be able to get one to do 99% of what you want.

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Anonymous Coward

Playbook

Although the Playbook is cheap its operating system is excellent, easier to use than Android. You do not even have to find a physical button to wake it up. It runs iPlayer perfectly, drives a TV through HDMI with no adaptor, its browser is state of the art, the screen is bright, it is solid. About the only thing it lacks is a flash for the camera (though yes, it does play Flash in the browser).

There is a magnetic power adaptor available so there is no wear on the USB port from charging, and it can be connected to a TV while on charge.

It can also be remote controlled through a Blackberry phone.

Unfortunately RIM totally failed to get the message across.

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Happy

Re: Playbook

Yep I bought one in September. Great little bit of kit. Since I've had it, several friends and family have picked one up too. Robust, simple to use and a decent range of the core apps and games that you would want.

Oh and it has a proper web browser and multi-tasking too.

Be interesting to see what happens if and when it gets the BB10 update. Though its a pretty sorted as it is.

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Flame

Re: BB10

The general rumblings are that it'll get BB10 tomorrow, I like the feel of my PB, but I still prefer my iPad 2.

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Meh

Re: Playbook

I agree on all you plus points, but the one thing that ruins it for me is the standby time. I can leave my iPad for days/weeks and I'll only loose 1-10% battery, I can just pick it up and test my website/app. The playbook conks out in a few days.

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Silver badge

Re: Playbook

I think the browser engine is very good but the browser app is merely adequate. For example it doesn't offer to remember passwords, doesn't let you edit bookmark titles, has an extremely cluttered and non-configurable navigation bar, only has an on/off setting for flash (it should have a tap-to-activate mode too), lacks extensions like ad blockers and some other functionality. The quality of rendering is very good though.

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clp

Re: Playbook

PB standby allows apps to keeping running in the background. That wasn't what I expected from 'standby', based on PC experience, but it does explain why the battery only lasts a few days in that mode.

I like my PB a lot and for the price I think it leads the field. Only issues I've found are:

- Although robust, it's a bit heavy to hold in the hand without resting it on something

- Browser crashes (vanishes) from time to time

- Slow responsiveness on change of tablet orientation

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99%

I'd say more like 100% - unless 'being an iPad' is a technical requirement and not a style mumble.

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JDX
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Re: 99%

Unless there is a single app which is iPad only, or badly maintained on Android, then it can't be 100%.

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Nya
Stop

Urrm no

RRP of £129 - VAT = £107.50 - £86 for device = £21.50 - delivery charges, and really it's not actually that much per machine in reality. It's not bad though :)

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Stop

Sales direct from Apple included?

I'm guessing these numbers don't include sales via Apple Stores, both physical and online, right?

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Gold badge

Re: Sales direct from Apple included?

I wondered that. The article seems to suggest they don't. Although it's not exactly clear. If so, it also isn't going to capture all the sales of Google Nexus 7s, assuming many of them are going through the play store. As well as ignoring the Kindle Fire, which I don't think was in shops until this month.

I'm surprised the Blackberry is doing so well, although as UK teenagers are some of RIM's most stalwart customers, maybe it made sense to parents to get the tablet to match their phone?

I guess I need to take another look (a first one really) at the Playbook. My Mum wants a 7" tablet, I've persuaded her away from the Kindle Fire, so she's deciding between iPad Mini and Nexus 7. Perhaps a pootle on a Playbook might interest her?

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Silver badge

Re: Sales direct from Apple included?

The only reason to buy a Kindle Fire is to get the lovefilm streaming app. Within a year if apple follow their usual pattern a new mini will be released with all the obvious features that were left out of the orginal. The interface on the playbook is a bit different from other tablets (swipe) but by the end of the first day it should be second nature (only problems I have with it are when ported apps don't use it). Extra bonus, the third edition of the OS is due out soon.

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Silver badge

Re: Sales direct from Apple included?

No, it's not direct: it's what went through the distribution channel. Obv Apple is the direct sales master, but interesting to see the PB selling in non-trivial numbers.

C.

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Re: Sales direct from Apple included?

Seeing as there seem to be so many Followers of the Blackberry God here, I wonder if I might pick your brains about whether it's worth suggesting it to my Mum. She's looking at the iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7, and I hadn't considered the Playbook.

Basically I need to know if it does BBC iPlayer, 4oD and ITV Player, as well as some silly games for the grandchildren and is easy enough to use.

Actually, rather than hijack the thread, probably best if I create a topic in the user forums I guess... So here goes.

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Gold badge

Re: Sales direct from Apple included?

diodesign,

Thanks for the reply. What's happened to your red vulture icon?

As you say, it's interesting to see the Playbook doing so well. And to see the Nexus doing so 'badly'... I wonder if that's because Google are selling them direct in large numbers? I'd have thought they'd get more of their sales via the Channel, rather than the Play Store. But maybe they're going to become a big player in sales. I don't understand why though, given how bad they've been at customer service, and how little effort they seem to have made to improve that.

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Stop

relevant?

This is not including direct sales?

These figures reflect the crumbs falling from the table, rather than the tablet market as a whole.

The problem for the PC industry is apple has effectively disintermediated the retail channel, as well as the software resellers and for music / video with sales of CDs and DVDs falling.

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Nya

Re: relevant?

Very true. Part of the channel which can are adapting to push tech support more and venturing as best they can into the mobile space. But let's face it, the small independent which makes up a huge section of the channel can't touch the direct sales in the mobile space. Apple's captive market, captive support if they can as well is just knifing the channel at every opportunity is more than just annoying now. Sourcing Apple repair parts is usually an annoyance also, but is really the only way to make a decent margin out of the Apple ecosystem.

Interestingly, we've been seeing some quiet strange "Windows 8" effect of late. Strange in that it's not quiet as expected really. Laptop wise for first time users it seems to be going ok if slow (very few first time users now). But the interesting thing is coming from old time users and businesses who have played with Ipads and other tablets, monkeyed around with Win8 on their laptops and are now buying up good old Win7 desktops and AIO's again when the old XP boxes are expiring. Maybe not quiet the expected the changes to the market, but interesting to watch what's occurring on the ground.

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The Playbook is a really nice device

The Playbook is a really good 7" device. The hardware is very solid and the screen is very responsive and clear. Battery life is excellent too. Playbook OS 2.1 has a decent email / calendar app and browser (including flash) and some utilities. My biggest criticism of the hardware are the buttons are fiddly and the USB port is badly placed since it is not accesible when the device is in a charging dock.

The problems really start with the apps. The OS contains built-in apps but they all feel a bit cobbled together - there is a Bing Maps app (basically a web front end), a Twitter app (basically a web front end), a Facebook app (basically a web front end) and a smattering of apps pointing to services you've never heard of for music and magazines.

The app store has a lot of apps but it feels like the leftovers from a better app store. Popular apps from other platforms are conspicuously absent or conspicuously more expensive than on either Android or iPad. For example, there are some Angry Birds games but they're €4.50 compared to 75 cents or free on Android depending on ad-supported or not. Apps like Netflix don't exist at all. Apps that you might expect to get for free like a decent EPUB reader don't exist. Savvy people might figure how to sideload Android apps to their device but most people are not that savvy.

So the Playbook is okay if you don't care so much for apps and the hardware is very good. But if sales are up I think it's more to do with the clearance sales going on at the moment than any resurgence of interest. I just hope BB10 rejuvenates the tablet a bit.

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Bronze badge

Re: The Playbook is a really nice device

"So the Playbook is okay if you don't care so much for apps and the hardware is very good."

Very true. The lack of mainstream applications has been the issue for me. Bought mine in November of 2011, but it hasn't been much good to me, due to the lack of useful Enterprise level applications. I need the device to do more than just surf the Internet and play videos through my TV.

Until the Google Play Store is opened to the PB, so ALL of its applications will run on the PB, it will continue to be nothing more than an expensive paperweight to me.

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Thumb Up

I got one!

Got the Playbook 32gb and it's not too bad. Use my iPad 2 much much more though, hope the BB10 comes for it quickly as it might have a few more things I need.

Key problem for me is that the Playbook can't seem to log into CalDav servers properly - whilst all other devices don't have a problem. The calendar app looks good and the Bridge functionality is fairly good - but I can't access my calendar - even tried using Google Calendar to convert but that gives me more problems than I want! Maybe this will be fixed in BB10 - there certainly was a lot of people having the same issue on the support forums, and it would seem to be a block to organisations that can't afford / don't want to invest in BB specific software. Especially as BYOD is generating lots of iOS and Android users that can use CalDav!

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Re: I got one!

Odd, I bought the 64GB version in september, it integrates just fine with CalDav and CardDav both on iCloud and my own hosted server. It is actually rather good that way.

One thing I've got against it is that the battery consumption on standby seems to be shocking. I'm sure it is probably my settings, but that should really be sorted out of the box.

Secondly, and more related to all 7" devices not just the playbook, I like reading on my tablet. I have large contracts, reference manual books, magazines etc. On a 7" device I just have to keep zooming in/out, I can't read a page of A4 comfortably, let along annotate the PDF with comments and return it. For that my iPad, to replace my Sony PRS600, is still king.

But as a toy, play a game, etc it is ok...

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Bronze badge

Re: I got one!

"One thing I've got against it is that the battery consumption on standby seems to be shocking. I'm sure it is probably my settings, but that should really be sorted out of the box."

If you've turned on WiFi file sharing (home screen, swipe-from-top, storage & sharing, file sharing) then this is enabled all the time, even when it's in standby. With this on the PB is a node in a Windows Workgroup file sharing network, and it may become the master browser*. If your network is busy in this way then the PB can end up doing quite a lot of work in standby mode.

It's quite likely to end up being the master browser because it's 'On' all the time, whereas laptops, PCs come and go.

* I think that 'master browser' is the right terminology.

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