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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Did BlackBerry fail on the PlayBook launch

The commercials for the PlayBook are amazing.  The graphics look great, the song is a goodie, and the reference that is does play Flash is very noticeable.  Why then are sales not where they should be with the PlayBook?
The Board of Directors over at RIM want to see changes in terms of their CEO/Chairman roles.  Both roles are being split by Jim Balsilie and Mike Lazaridis.  I think part if the reason for this is that the PlayBook launch was perhaps not as successful as hoped.
I am not sure about the United States, but here in Canada the PlayBook was launched at Staples/Business Depot (Bureau en Gros in Quebec).  You cannot compare the sales volumes of Staples to Best Buy and Future Shop.  The iPad, as well as Android based tablets are available at many more stores, and the value of being in Best Buy cannot be matched by Staples.
Yes, you can get the PlayBook at your local Telus store, and I believe other mobile phone carriers are selling them as well, but most will try and sell you a second data plan.
Having played with both the iPad 2, and the PlayBook, I personally prefer the PlayBook.  BlackBerry needs to focus on getting more games and apps to be able to compete.  Why isn't Angry Birds on PlayBook yet?  I know plenty of parents who chose iPhone or iPad simply because of games that their kids can play, such as Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.  I am guilty of that with my iPod Touch.
I am quite sure that the 2nd generation PlayBook will be far superior, I just hope that it has a better launch.  Better retailers, better specialized apps, better marketing.
Although RIM is losing market share to Android and Apple, I do not see them disappearing any time soon.  I think they are still the most secure smartphones, very reliable technology, and they offer great customer service.  What they need to focus on now is working with larger retailers, getting specialized "BlackBerry only" apps, or BlackBerry versions of popular apps.
As an app developer, I find dealing with RIM very easy.  I am working on creating a PlayBook and Torch only game with developers at RIM.  I think more companies need to focus on this, because BlackBerry sales are still quite strong.
I would still love to see the PlayBook in bigger stores....

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