While some in the media are already complaining of tablet fatigue, the 2011 Computer Entertainment Show in Las Vegas, which wrapped up today, was undeniably about these nascent devices. For investors in Research in Motion, CES was doubly important as it marked the first hands on look at the new BlackBerry Playbook for many key buyers. So is Playbook ready to unseat the iPad in a space Apple made relevant? Probably not, is the consensus. But while The Motorola Xoom tablet took home CNET’s Best of Show Award, Playbook did very well indeed at CES.
Matt Warman of the UK’s Telegraph said that “Blackberry and Motorola stole the show..” saying that their products underline that 2011 looks set to be one of technology’s most vibrant years ever. “Just a few years ago” he said RIM and Motorola “made products that seemed to indicate they might not be long for this world because Apple was streaks ahead. Now, their products underline that 2011 looks set to be one of technologies most vibrant years ever – and that the keyboard isn’t dead yet.”
Mark Sullivan an editor with PC World, talked up the Playbook in that magazine’s CES 2011 Picks and Pans roundup saying that “the logic and look and feel of the QNX operating system’s user interface impressed me.”
But some analysts think BlackBerry is late to the tablet game. Steven Fox, of Crédit Agricole Securities, for instance, notes that Apple will have sold some 17 million iPads by the time RIM’s PlayBook hits the market.
Jon Chase of Switched thinks that while the iPad almost single handedly invented the tablet space, the idea that it will continue to dominate because of its first mover advantage is ridiculous. He points out that “Samsung’s Galaxy Tab has already sold over a million units worldwide in just a few months, – despite predictions to the contrary from naysayers all over.”
Chase echoed the judges choices at CES and named Motorola’s Mobility Xoom as his top tablet. But he also ranked the Playbook over the iPad, noting “it handled multitasking unbelievably well…pretty much assuring it’ll be the pick of choice for business-types.”
Here’s a look at RIM’s booth at CES: