Last week rumors that RIM was planning on getting out of the tablet game and discontinuing production of the BlackBerry PlayBook spread like wild fire, and, even though RIM put out a statement calling the rumors “pure fiction” and that the company “remains highly committed to the tablet market”, it’s not really all that difficult to understand why the rumors seemed so plausible…
Since day one we’ve believed that the hardware in the BlackBerry PlayBook was quite good. We can see why Amazon went to the same company that builds the BlackBerry PlayBook to build the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s $199 Android tablet that is changing the game for every tablet manufacturer not named Apple. The software running on the PlayBook, however, is a completely different story, and, the ecosystem for apps, music, video, books, and media in general is non-existent.
Apple has a media ecosystem and the tablet that everyone wants their apps to run on, Amazon will hit the ground running with an ecosystem, and, Google is open source and large enough to take the time to work out an Android ecosystem. The question is what ecosystem can the BlackBerry PlayBook play in?
The PlayBook has been around 6 months and there is no Kindle App, no Nook Reader… There is no Netflix, no Hulu, no Amazon Video. The most highly anticipated app coming to the PlayBook is the Android App Player which will allow the device to run a subset of Android Apps.
To make a long story short, the BlackBerry PlayBook has no ecosystem, but, in order for it to have any shot at success, it’s going to need one. RIM building their own would be ideal, but, they are so far behind, and, it would take so much time to do it, that the tablet arms race may be over before RIM truly gets a chance to enter it. RIM’s options in the short term are to play in someone else’s ecosystem, and, I wonder what ecosystem that will turn out to be.