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Two tablets to take on iPad

Rory Cellan-Jones | 08:41 UK time, Wednesday, 13 April 2011

At last they are coming, the products that will give Apple's iPad a run for its money. I've had a glance at a couple of tablets in the last few days, that might just challenge Apple's dominance in a market that the company kickstarted last year.

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The first is the Motorola Xoom, leading the charge for Google's Android operating system. We've already seen quite a few Android tablets, notably the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but they've barely managed a dent in the iPad's almost total dominance of the market. That might be because they were running a system designed primarily for smaller screens, but now Android Honeycomb, tailored for tablets, is here and the Xoom is the first to show it off in the UK.

My first issue was with turning it on. I eventually found the power button on the back of the tablet next to the camera, not a great place for it, especially as you have to keep returning to it when the Xoom goes to sleep. It's a small detail, but just the kind of thing that Apple seems to get right.

Mind you, once I'd turned it on the Xoom proved an impressive device, fast, and with an intuitive user interface. The high resolution 10" screen made videos and photos look great. The five megapixel rear-facing camera produced better pictures than its equivalent on the iPad 2 - and while I still can't quite see the point of taking photos on a tablet, it's a great place to view and edit them. There's a front-facing camera for video calls too - I tried out Google Talk with a colleague, which worked well, but as yet there's no Skype app.

For your surfing needs, the Xoom features Google's Chrome browser which has two advantages over the iPad's Safari - it has tabbed browsing allowing easy switching between different sites, and it supports Flash, so you can watch all those web videos that aren't visible on Apple's tablet.

But there are two main weaknesses in the Xoom - the apps and the look and feel of the device. Right now there just aren't enough Android applications that are up to the standard of the best on the iPad - like the social magazine Flipboard, or Apple's own iMovie editing app and Garage Band music application. And by contrast with the IPad 2 the Xoom feels heavy and a little cumbersome. In other words it's great compared with the first iPad, but Apple has already moved on.

The second device I got to examine was the Blackberry Playbook, which goes on sale in the USA next week and in the UK by the end of June. When I say examine, I mainly sat back while the co-CEO of RIM, the Canadian firm behind the Blackberry, put the tablet through its paces.

Mike Lazaridis, who founded RIM back in 1984, proved a deft and enthusiastic demonstrator. He plugged the Playbook into a large television screen via an HDMI cable to show off some hi-def video content, which looked great. Even more impressive, he was then able to surf the web and use various apps on his small screen, while the video kept on playing on the television.

The Playbook looked slick and capable, though I still have some doubts about whether a 7" device will find a large gap in the market between smartphones and larger tablets like the Xoom and the iPad. Mr Lazaridis is confident that its sheer portability is a key attraction, but if that's the case I'm not entirely sure why there is quite so much stress on the ability to plug it into a television.

The Playbook will also need to work hard to convince developers to build the apps it needs to compete with Apple and Android. But from what I saw it is an impressive piece of hardware which should attract plenty of customers amongst the existing Blackberrry crowd - the business types, that is, not the BBM teenagers for whom Blackberry is now a cool brand. RIM says it's looking to attract both its enterprise users, with the promise of a link to their existing Blackberrys and the device's trademark security, and the average consumer. I'm not entirely sure the Playbook can bridge that gap.

Whilst we were chatting about his new toy, in which RIM has invested so much of its future, Mike Lazaridis was bubbly and enthusiastic. Then I asked a question about RIM's problems in India and the Middle East where it has been in battles with governments concerned that the Blackberry is just too secure for their police to monitor.

Suddenly, the atmosphere in the room chilled, Mr Lazaridis told me my question was unfair, and his PR executive informed us that the interview was over. We were there, apparently, to discuss the new product and nothing else.

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RIM is not alone amongst technology firms in wanting to exert tight control over its message but it seems surprising that the company would not address an issue of great interest to its customers across India and the Middle East.


  • Comment number 1.

    I wonder why they are so reluctant to discuss the issue of state access to Blackberry user data? As a company that is constantly espousing the security of its service, could it be that they don't want it known that they have been forced to allow access to those governments that demand it?

    And for those users in those countries that have demanded access, would they be happy to know that all the data that passes through their handsets is liable to interception by the governments of those countries?

    Viewed in that light it is clear to see why RIM don't want to have the issue discussed at all.

  • Comment number 2.

    "...I'm not entirely sure why there is quite so much stress on the ability to plug it into a television."

    At a wild guess it's so you can plug the thing into a plasma screen or data projector and give a presentation. As you say their focus is on business users.

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh it seems the world has gone tablet crazy.

    I was one of those who jumped on the band wagon and got an iPad last year shortly after launch. You know to this day it is used more as an expensive digital photo frame and to check the odd email here and there. Goodness knows how much money I spent on Apps – but the point I want to make here is about the ‘death of the computer’.

    It an odd thing to say in an age we use technology more than ever, but it is the technology we use that has changed and worryingly I think it is effecting communication. We are going backwards you see.

    I am coming from this from a consumer point of view, where once we had a computer, big and usually beige it was expensive did little and sat in the corner of the room. Times changed and they got smaller did far more, prices fell and they changed colour to black and silver. Then Laptops got more powerful and cheaper and everyone opted for portability rather than practicality – but they are still computers, devices one can type on properly and do a multitude of things with.

    Then the bridge of the Netbook arrived and many got one of these to compliment their want to get online and do work, listen o music etc in a small light and portable (if slow) device.

    And now it is Tablets. I don’t see them as bad, over priced toys you really can live without yes – but the fact of the matter is, talking to friends recently I was surprised how many had stopped using their laptops, no longer owned a desktop and used their phone or Ipad.

    But it is spreading alarmingly – especially in the US – people never did need computers after all it seems, we worried about the speed, how much memory it had and how cool it looked, but actually so it seems people wanted to simply email people, buy things online and look at websites and update their Facebook. You do not need a laptop to do that, all that can be done on a phone.

    So why is this alarming? Because when you do something on a phone or even a tablet, you say less. You naturally don’t feel as comfortable to hold the device and type very much on it. On a phone you have a small screen, or keyboard and on a tablet you have the awkward fact of holding it or setting down on lap and prodding at a flat surface. So increasingly emails I get are shorter ending with ‘sent from my Blackberry Wireless Device’ or iPhone. And I would go as far to say in five years desktops will be only for business and gamers, laptops will be a few in the corner of your local PC World and tablets ahh there be everywhere as the mainstream way to ‘compute’.

  • Comment number 4.

    Contary to popular believe, Apple did not invent the table. From my understanding, others were working on the idea but Apple realesed theirs first (imagine what would have happened had an Android or Windows tablet been realesed first).

    The Xoom is a great tablet only let down by price and USB connector ports. Motorolla will learn from their first experience and release a slim down and better version (like the Galaxy tab).

    The market looks healthy and Apple have more to lose than the others. This is what happens when you have just one line of products - you run out of ideas quickly. Maybe this is why the iPhone 5 will not come out this year as planned?

  • Comment number 5.

    Whilst you mention apps as being a weakness, it is really the main advantage of Android.
    Lack of app restrictions means real choice, not restricted choice.

    And as to iPad 'attention to detail', most of this is in denying user access, be it software, memory upgrades and connectivity.
    'Being grateful' to Apple is a choice for many though and it does have its attractions.

  • Comment number 6.

    ....but if Apple had invented the table it would have been called


    V1 would have had only 3 legs - the forth leg would catch up on V2...

  • Comment number 7.

    I have mixed feelings about tablets. A friend of mine refuses to be without hers, but nothing she does with her iPad seems to be something I would be wont to do. So for the moment I see them as a solution looking for a problem (still) and will maintain a watching brief.

  • Comment number 8.

    @sagat4 - No, Apple didn't invent the tablet. And we don't need to imagine what would have happened if a Windows tablet was released first - because it was, way back in 1993! And various iterations were steadily dribbled out over the next 17 years - all of them underpowered, clumsy to use and with dreadful battery life.

    What Apple did do was create a usable tablet - one with an intuitive OS, using fingers instead of pens, a delightful screen and a Methusulan battery life. And the fact that we're only now seeing potential rivals, more than a year later, just goes to show how revolutionary it was. Obviously nobody had anything close ready for release. Some would say that's still the case.

  • Comment number 9.

    Let's face it. Apple iPads are cool - not measured by technical standards but by consenus opinion.

    People therefore make apps for iPads / iPhone / Touches first because they will be cool.

    I'm not saying Android or Blackberry are not cool, it's personal preference.

    PS. What cake should you buy to celebrate an iPad's first birthday??

  • Comment number 10.

    The Asus EEE Pad transform seems like the best tablet according to those in the know. A tablet which can easily be plugged into a keyboard resulting in a laptop for typing for longer/content creation.

    Also it is worth mentioning that the RIM CEO has already confirmed that Android apps will run on the Blackberry Playbook, so it isn't competing with Android to get developers! Once again Rory proves his Apple bias/lack of knowledge about competing systems.

  • Comment number 11.

    Is it the case that the Tablet market has been 'kickstarted', or is it only people buying something else from Apple because it's seen as cool?

  • Comment number 12.

    Even forgetting business use, the vast majority of domestic users do not need a conventional computer and these devices give them the opportunity not to have one. For accessing the web, emails, etc, these products are like a kettle, a toaster a washing machine – they perform the functions they are designed to do. Most homes with a computer have effectively purchased a motor car to use the cigarette lighter. Any criticisms I’ve ever heard towards tablets are invariably by people who attribute a completely different addenda towards them and/or compare them to conventional computers? Amazingly, even the ceo of Toshiba doesn’t seem to “get it” as he proudly promised that ‘theirs’ would provide a closer computing experience. Dear of dear.

  • Comment number 13.

    Interesting word 'kickstarted', when the Android options have multiplied on the UK high street just this week (sales starting last Monday), with new 10 inch(ish) entries from ASUS and Acer, bring different features (docking keyboard with more power, or on-tablet USB connections for example) that are just as technically compelling as a straightforward comparison with the ipad2 or RIM, or the Gen-1 Xoom. I wonder, Rory if a future next article is looking at what the expectant market share going to look like in 12 months, and why? I don't think it's a straight vendor tech feature or OS platform split. Just as the Apple adverts have laid out recently, it's not just the tech, or the user experience, but what people actually do productively, and the segmentation will slice in new ways that have not been seen before.

  • Comment number 14.

    Really, the tablet to look out for is the Notion Ink tablet - under-reported from a new enthusiastic company. Of course, they will not get as much business since they're small, but the reviews I've read so far put it specification wise higher than the iPad 2 and the cost is rather good

  • Comment number 15.

    Rory i just watched your recent clip with the RIM CEO. The question you asked him was kind of an entrapment and that's why he felt uncomfortable and cut short the interview. I do agree that they are unfairly treated in these countries. Having said that, i think this will be the last time he gives an interview for the

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Don't really understand the objections of sagat4 and Henry Ford to the line of questioning about security issues in the Mid East and India. There is a live issue. RIM need to be able to answer the question, and if they don't have an answer then that is a big story.

    The real lesson here is media preparation for the RIM boss. There were lots of ways he could have dealt with that question which would have made it a non-issue. It's his fault it's now headline news, not Rory's.

  • Comment number 18.

    @15 and 16

    Don't see the problem with Rory's interview. He asked about a relevant issue. His wording could have been better - RIM doesn't have a "security problem", the problem is their security is so good national Governments are unable to snoop on users of Blackberrys.

    A properly-briefed media-savvy CEO would have answered along the lines of: "we don't have a problem with security - in fact our security is better than any of our competitors, so that in some cases it has hindered the ability of national security organisations to investigate crimes. We're working with the relevant Governments to come to a solution".

    Simple really, turn the negative question into a positive for users and shut the issue down, instead he looked as though he has something to hide.

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't think Lazaridis is wrong with his feeling on the situation, but stopping the interview was wrong of him.

    Ultimately, Blackberry doesn't have a security issue - It has a national security issue with countries whose governments want to snoop on their people. The problem here is oppressive levels of Government forcing Blackberry to play by their rules or not operate. If I were Blackberry I'd pull out of the countries, but the lure of the almighty dollar is too much for them to do that.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ahhh the Notion Ink Adam, a device that has been vapourware for the best part of 18 months now. I'd suggest you're going to have a long, long time as you have to be invited to buy the thing!

    I was excited for this device, but the longer it takes to ship, the more and more it looks like a repeat of the Phantom Games Console.

  • Comment number 21.

    I disagree with the comments regarding a modern user not requiring a 'proper' computer. As a student, I have to write reports on a regular basis, and a lot of course material is delivered electronically, such as a PDF or PowerPoint presentation of course notes and lecture slides. Without a proper computer with a decent keyboard and monitor, this would be impossible. This isn't even before I go beyond the standard for every student into my particular field (engineering) where more specialist software (ANSYS, ProEngineer, Inventor, Mathcad, Matlab, Visual C++ etc.) is needed. None of this could realistically be done on a tablet or smartphone. Added to the fact that a computer (particularly a desktop) is a LOT cheaper than a tablet, especially one needed to perform to a similar level, then you can see why traditional computers are nowhere near the end of their life.

    As a PC gamer, I see tablets (and their games) as a bit second rate. Why spend £500+ on a tablet and then only play cheap 2D arcade games that hold your attention for 5 minutes, when you can play a far better game with a good storyline and fantastic gameplay? Fair enough on your smartphone on the train, but in the house Dragon Age or Crysis beats Angry Birds any day of the week.

  • Comment number 22.

    It strikes me that this is a great example of aggressive British journalism crossing the line. Rory was invited there to review a product. Lazaridius isn't a British politician at the mercy of the aggressive UK press, and he has every right to swat away off topic questions. Shame on the BBC for even making this news and posting a clip of this. It's not news, it's horrible tabloid journalism, and makes me even more convinced our license fees are wasted.

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm slightly disappointed you seem to have missed the more important point here Rory. I live in the US where the Xoom and iPad2 have both been available for purchase for some time and have spent time using both devices (though I own neither, yet!).

    The major difference between these 2 devices is Android Honeycomb vs Apple iOS. Yes there are a few slight technical differences, one feels slightly heavier, poorly placed power switch, etc, but the feel of using an operating system which has been designed for a tablet takes the whole tablet experience to the next level, and you barely mentioned this. Apple's iOS is pretty much the same as when it was released for the iTouch maybe 5 years ago (can't be bothered to look up exact dates but it's been a while). Yes it's been refined, but the essential experience is a bunch of icons on a screen that you use to access apps.

    Honeycomb takes the tablet to the next level, and whilst the Xoom may not be the perfect device there are rows of manufacturers lining up to use Honeycomb and take it on to the next level. Apple has been making money off their image for too long and not putting in the necessary development work to stay ahead of the game.

    For the longest time I considered whether I should get a tablet and the question of "well what would I use it for?" kept stopping me. Honeycomb takes the tablet experience much closer to where it needs to be in terms of making a tablet feel like a notebook substitute, rather than a big phone/gaming device.

    Still think I'm going to wait for a few more options though. Let's get some competition in there to start driving the prices down!

  • Comment number 24.

    We all know how RIM feels about it position and despite a good product, how it gets battered by stock market, governments, etc.
    Harassing RIM was NOT necessary. You should have kept it to playbook. bad interview!

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    Clearly dead man and company for that matter walking and any perceived criticism of the brand is psychologically traumatising to him. No one questions RIM in their native Canada clearly this man expects the same servitude elsewhere, which is probably the very attitude that is responsible for heading this company on collision course with the rocks.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Poor Rory, My guess is you own an I-pad. Seeing how much better and more usable the playbook is probably made you think you've actually bought a computer version of a coloring book. Guess what Bud, You have. All of you I-Pad users must have figured this out by now. It's great for young kids and Non tech older people. If you really want to compute, why buy an I-Pad?

  • Comment number 29.

    ".... com'on this is a national security issue."

    I think his behaviour was totally classless. If they're not prepared to be transparent about their products why should consumers purchase them?

    I recently got a Blackberry Torch. I loath Apple for their poor customer service but with this joker in charge at RIM, I'm considering looking around for better.

    Didn't RIM have to settle out of court for several flagrant patent breaches?

    Leadership from the top. That includes PR.

    He strikes me as completely arrogant.

  • Comment number 30.


    "A properly-briefed media-savvy CEO would have answered along the lines of: "we don't have a problem with security - in fact our security is better than any of our competitors, so that in some cases it has hindered the ability of national security organisations to investigate crimes. We're working with the relevant Governments to come to a solution".

    Simple really, turn the negative question into a positive for users and shut the issue down, instead he looked as though he has something to hide."


    We don't often here from Directors of companies unless there's a major new product. They hide behind press releases. As soon as we try and get some information about RIM in general, he acted totally unprofessionally, arrogant and as you say with something to hide.

    If RIM were confident in their business. Their ethics and their products he wouldn't have gone off like that. He'd of answered questions simply and tactfully.

    Instead he acted rather ridiculously, which has me now questioning the product I own.

    I mean its an issue about security.

    By not being transparent about their position - what exactly is RIM's position? Do they even have a position?

    Rory's asked just some general questions. He's not sparked a Spanish Inquisition.

    DISASTROUS PR. And TERRIBLE leadership at the top of that corporation.

  • Comment number 31.

    I am surprised Mr Lazaridis did not have an answer to Rory's question and even more so by how badly he responded to it. If he had calmly delivered a prepared answer it is likely this would not have become a story.

    Some of the posters on this blog seem to think that journalists should only ask the questions the people they're interviewing want them to. I do not agree that Rory's approach was 'entrapment', 'bad journalism', 'aggressive' or 'harassing' as other posters have - and frankly I wonder if they were watching the same video. It is not unfair to try to ascertain if RIM is helping governments snoop on Blackberry users. How that question is answered is a matter for RIM - but it is a matter of public interest.

    If Rory was told in advance and agreed that he could only have an interview if he agreed only to ask about Playbook (and I leave the ethical judgment on that to someone else) that is one thing , but assuming that was not the case it seems to me he acted perfectly properly.

  • Comment number 32.

    Both of those look pretty impressive to me. The fact that the playbook will support android apps is a smart move. Still doubt I'll buy one though, as you say, a phone does the job of checking the odd email/website whilst on the move. I wouldn't worry too much about the death of the pc/laptop, I'd bet that in 20 years time people will still be coding for whatever is the device of choice, using a proper keyboard.

  • Comment number 33.

    HERE'S WHAT THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW: There is no 'security problem' with the blackberry. The problem is it's TOO SECURE.. India and SA (for example........) have a 'security problem' when it comes to blackberry because they can't (no one can, not even police with a warrant) access user's info on the blackberry. The media is spinning this the wrong way... why I wonder?....

  • Comment number 34.

    I think the suspicion is that RIM may have compromised the security of their devices in some countries in order to appease snooping governments. They should be willing to state clearly in public whether or not this is true. Failing to answer the question obviously leads to suspicions that they have indeed compromised.

  • Comment number 35.


    Supporting Android apps on the Playbook is a very smart PR move. But I think you should wait and see how well they actually run before you get too excited.

  • Comment number 36.


    I rather think it's you that has missed the point!

    You're right that the most important differentiator is the software. But in fact iOS, which has been around for less than 3 years as an app-supporting platform, has evolved significantly in that time. Again, you are right that iOS is essentially there to run apps, but then so are most "computing" devices! It may be that there are things you can do with Android that don't involve running apps, or that Android apps can be accessed other than via an icon, but I wouldn't regard that as "the next level" (whatever that means!).

    But I take your point about Apple not having stayed ahead of the game. Nothing of note has been announced (apart possibly from Final Cut Pro X, which doesn't even run on iPhones or iPads) since the iPad 2 announcement last month.

    I guess the fact that what you're really looking for seems to be a "notebook substitute" explains why tablets are not for you.

    Several people have mentioned their need for a "proper keyboard". In fact, the (Apple wireless) keyboard that I'm typing this on works just fine with my iPhone, and I'm sure it would also work with an iPad.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am so very bored of hearing the "Not enough apps" tagline when it comes to Honeycomb. As someone who is developing apps for Honeycomb I'd like to point out 2 things.

    1. We can't test Honeycomb apps until we have Honeycomb devices.

    2. No developer worth his salt is going to release a Honeycomb app until there is a decent market out there to purchase it.

    The apps will come. Probably end of May beginning of June there will be a flood of Honeycomb apps available because there will be a much larger user base with 4 or 5 tablets due for release.

    The biggest player of the coming Honeycomb tablets in my eyes will be the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. good price point, great connectivity, keyboard option to turn it into a netbook when necessary. I'm seeing a lot of Xoom owners dumping their pre-orders in favour of this machine.

    With regards to people slating Apple. I'm not their biggest fan by a long way, indeed I think I-Tunes is an abomination as do most people (even I-Phone/ I-pad users), however what they've done is a huge achievement. They cracked a market that so many tried to crack in the past. They took their bunch of faithful followers and launched a whole new plaform off the back of them. No-one will challenge Apple seriously in the tablet market for several years to come as a large portion of Apple buyers are as brand loyal as your Playstation and Xbox customer bases.

    It doesn't matter what tech you put in your tablet, how quick it is in comparison or how good the user interface is a large percentage of Apple users will stay Apple users until Steve Jobs and co run out of products. Any company would kill for that kind of customer.

    What Honeycomb tablets and Playbook will do is give anyone who hasn't already bought into the Apple brand a selection of alternatives to suit most needs and, hopefully pretty soon, most pockets.

  • Comment number 38.

    I found the first video on this page rather bizarre. Mike Lazaridis introduces the Playbook by the exciting ability to connect it to a HDTV. Not exactly a game changer...
    When Rory asks about 'Apps on the iPad', Mike jumps the gun and thinks he's talking about the Playbook apps.

    Then when asked about how it will beat the iPad, the first point Mike makes is about Blackberry's security model.

    It therefore seemed more than fair that Rory should ask about the problems with this security problem in certain countries.

  • Comment number 39.

    The only problem with the Xoom is that is has already been shredded to bits by US reviewers and it has ... 12 apps that work properly on Honeycomb. Next!

  • Comment number 40.


    Nice to see an Android developer who isn't blinkered about Apple! I agree about iTunes. Can't understand why Apple don't sort it out. It's not even 64 bit, and frequently struggles to do more than one thing at once. But I don't agree that the Transformer will be model for the future of tablets. Looks to me like a clever but rather fiddly design that allows you to do things that most people don't especially want to do. But then I don't like qwerty keyboards on phones. The good thing is that we have a choice.

  • Comment number 41.

    I didn't mean it will be the future of all tablets but of the ones due out within the next month it I believe it will be the most popular option. Has all the power and specs of the Xoom but cheaper and with an allegedly better screen. The keyboard is only an option, you can get it without and save some cash.

    With a keyboard it provides that bridge between netbook and tablet for those who aren't 100% sure about having a need for a tablet or being able to do everything the want with just a tablet. I certainly wouldn't want to be typing these replies using an on screen keyboard lol

    However aswell as being a keyboard it also provides you with a case for the screen, a screen stand, extra connectivity options and extra battery life/remote charging dock.

    As you say, its nice to have the choice.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Then I asked a question about RIM's problems in India and the Middle East where it has been in battles with governments concerned that the Blackberry is just too secure for their police to monitor"

    Which implies that the security is good.

    "Can I move on to the problem you've had in terms of security and your various arguments you've had with the Indian governments and a number of governments in the middle east. Is that anywhere near being sorted out?"

    Which implies the security has been too low for those governments.

    Why the discrepancy?

  • Comment number 43.

    Frightful lack of market awareness from Rory. The "security" issue has been well commented on- it's the most secure mobile email available and even Obama carries one. Not yet highlighted however is the complete disregard for the announced support of android 2.3 apps on the playbook via an app player. If you want to write and informed article worthy of debate, please be clear on the facts.

  • Comment number 44.


    I don't see a discrepancy. BB security was too good to allow those governments to snoop. They didn't like that. The problems are now resolved. That might imply that RIM reached an agreement to release keys under some circumstances. People in those countries, or doing business in those countries, deserve to know more.

  • Comment number 45.


    Well, that particular fact ("Playbook supports Android apps") would need too much qualification and explanation to fit well into this piece. Lazaridis had a clear opportunity to mention it in the interview, but he chose not to.

  • Comment number 46.

    I'm surprised that nobody has commented on Lazaridis' remarks about being "singled out". If you think about it, that's the only important issue here for non-RIM-shareholders (you and me). Have you heard of any other mobile comms technology which has had this problem? No? Does this mean that they didn't have it, or that they reached agreements with governments much more quietly than RIM did?

    Go figure.

  • Comment number 47.

    Further to the comment I just made - did you hear about how RIM had a big argument about making user data available to the British government? No? Why was that? Can the UK government access RIM user data or not?

    Go figure some more. Is privacy a myth, nowadays?

  • Comment number 48.

    The BBC along with other media organizations should be fair to all of the technology companies in this realm. Can you reassure all of us that Apple and Google do not have agreements with governments. Or are they already insecure enough that paranoid governments are not worried about their products. I would agree with the RIM CEO. It wasn't fair to try to single out a very secure company (likely the most secure wireless company in the world).

    Try to get the Apple and Google guys to discuss their private government agreements!

    Doubt you would be willing to take on those AMERICAN powerhouses, when you can try to kick around a solid Canadian company!

    Rory should take the proper British approach and publicly apologize for trying to ambush Mr. Lazaridis.

  • Comment number 49.

    To all those complaining about the possible security risks on the blackberry, just think about this: What do the US President, the head of security at Apple and the Taliban have in common? They all use blackberrys.

    Something tells me that they have OVERsecured their systems rather than left holes or given access to a government. Only the person with the phone can read BB messages, this is why they have so many problems with the Big Brothers of the East...

  • Comment number 50.

    I see yet again several complaints, with information to back them up, about this blog by Rory. When will the BBC get the message?

    As for the security issue that Rory was so eager to highlight - I'd like to see him do a piece on the security of the iPhone, it'd be very short as there is very little security on it.

    So the fact that RIM have had to let some Orwellian governments access their encryption should be seen as a positive, as RIM security is better than Apple (or anyone else's) security. The data is encrypted at the handset level, it then leaves the handset, travels over the mobile network and is then decrypted at the recipients end, it uses Triple DES encryption which would take hundreds of years (rough estimate) to crack, even with today's supercomputers.

    So if oppressive regimes, or even our own counter terrorist forces, need to snoop on BlackBerry communications there simply was no other way than to let them have access to the noc (BlackBerry Infrastructure as they call it now).

    As an owner of a BlackBerry (8900) and someone who has worked in the industry, for a supplier of BlackBerry smartphones to various clients including several police forces and one city council (mostly on the BES solution) I feel quite safe that my data is secure and as I am doing no wrong I am not bothered if the government wish to snoop on it.

    Others should feel this way also.

  • Comment number 51.

    Are the BBC moderators going to continue censoring me on this blog?

    Kindly print my previous comment, it actually has some informed and factual comment.

    If you refuse to print it, then also remove posts #27, #25, #22, #15, and #16 as they are just as guilty of breaching the house rules as my previous post.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    I don't want to get roped into Google (which is starting to look like a monopoly), so Android is out. Blackberry would be OK except that Lazaridis is not creating a good feeling with his odd interview style. I think I'll wait for a Linux the time it comes out, someone may have come up with a use for tablets that isn't already covered by laptops.

  • Comment number 54.

    As far as awesome OS' go, I'm waiting to get my hands on WebOS, which seems to have all the essentials; good hardware, beautiful gui, decent multitasking (Andriod does multitasking to an okayish level, and Apple to a primitive standard, but WebOS looks more promising in this respect). That said, I see all the current tablets as toys to be honest - frankly I'd rather purchase tablet with a full operating system rather than a large phone operating system. Then I'd be able to run my full range of applications, not cut down ones, where available.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    Not really toys, just a different purpose. It sounds like what you really want is a Windows 7 tablet. Should be plenty to choose from soon.

  • Comment number 57.

    While Apple certainly have turned out a good tablet, it is by no means the first and depending on your needs; not the best. The other tablets in the same vein as the iPad are indeed very good as well. This has all been mentioned by others though.

    @ Frank

    I'm sorry, but after mentioning the first tablets, you went all subjective. Some of the pre iPad tablets did have good battery life (for their processing power) and weren't underpowered if we are comparing them to "consumer tablets" (for lack of a better word - slates perhaps?). I know people who would slap you for saying fingers are better than pens and that the iPad introduced good displays to tablets. Admittedly they have particular, rather niche uses for tablets, but to generalise is never good. That is not to say "consumer tablets" aren't good for many people; they most certainly are. Maybe a clear distinction that you are referring to such tablets would help?

    On another note: I shall be getting a Fujitsu T901 at some point soon. Convertible tablets are just too tempting for me. =)

  • Comment number 58.

    At my whatever in your head, cake suggestion a big empty one with something pretty but useless jumping out of it? At those people debating who invented the tablet, rover garages were using intelligent diagnosis on tablets in their garages more than 15 years ago. Tablets have been around for ages. Saying they are cool sums it up, we have almost bought something now gathering dust because at the time it was cool. I look forward to the end of this fad and hope there are some good spin offs.

  • Comment number 59.


    But do you know the difference between a fad, and a valuable but transient evolutionary phase? Was the PDA a fad, or a transitional product on the road to the smartphone? The iPod (as a portable music player) has almost run its natural course. When it fades away, will you regard it as having been a fad? Perhaps the netbook is a fad that will give way to the more enduring tablet?

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Interesting review. Key points to recognise for the Zoom:

    + Costs more than iPad
    + Heavier than iPad
    + Fewer apps than iPad

    Turning to the Blackberry key issues here are:

    + Smaller viewing that iPad
    + Fewer apps than iPad
    + Distribution issues - iPad announced and was globally available within 3weeks

    Based on the above these are just interesting gadgets from "tired" companies who are either in their final death-throws; Motorola, or trying to look sexy so someone will buy them; RIM.

    Neither of these devices, or the iPad yet convince we they have the killer format that justifies my cash. I can afford to wait for the iPad 3. Apart from the Samsung 10in tab the rest are just a side show tabs are a simple market Apple v Android on OS and Apple v Samsung on manufacturers.

  • Comment number 62.

    i think that the publishing of the snippet of the interview leaves the public with the perception that RIM is a less secure product than others. Not true. In fact it is the most secure so Mr. Lazaridis is quite correct in his looking at the interviewer like he is a bafoon and stopping the interview. The interviewer is using language that totally does not express the issue. The issue also is one of national security. You have to understand that RIM was the only company that denied India their requests to hand over their security on a platter. RIM keeps their employees and in particular their customer support in Canada vs some person in India with little to no training that spews boiler plate responses. As a CEO I wouldnt waste my time with the interviewer either. The BBC response to this event should have been to either instruct the interviewer how to conduct an interview or fire him. The fact that the BBC puts out the video snippet allowing people to believe there is a security issue with the RIM product reveals that it is their goal to misinform with reckless abandon. There is also nothing technically written within this article about the actual devices. How can an illiterate person in language with no technical background whatsoever be employed to write articles about technical products. It is incredulous. Ummm Mcfly we all have TV's in our homes ... yes? No? and oh look they put the hdmi connector on the first device made not a proprietary connector like apple.. cmon the entire article is a feckless waste of time. Good on Mr. Lazaridis for seeing he was wasting his time and leaving this bad interviewer who has no clue.

  • Comment number 63.

    The winner of the "tablet wars" will be the company that starts providing serious business apps instead of silly games. Tablets could potentially revolutionise the business world, to the point where it becomes compulsory to have one, just like a mobile phone, if only they actually did more than they currently offer. The hardware is there, just not the apps.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    At camy...france. as I have already pointed out that tablets have been around for more than 15 years it is unlikely that I think the devices themselves are a fad, it is this insistence that they are the future of mmis for computing and that people are just too ignorant to see it. Please have the courtesy to read and think about people's posts before commenting.
    The ipod was hardly the be all and end all of portable music, it had an easy to use interface on a mediocre mp3 player.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't see why Blackberry should comment on the security issue connected with Middle East Governments and India. The fact that those governments need assistance from Blackberry to decode their security is a great advert for Blackberry technology! Governments spying on their own people is despicable, but there isn't much Blackberry can do about that!
    Blackberry's products are excellent, solid, well thought out and now deservedly cool with a younger generation that have quickly tired of their chintzy i toys.
    The Playbook looks every bit a real Blackberry product and from the reviews available looks exactly right for business users and tech geeks alike. Can't wait to get my hands on one!

  • Comment number 67.

    I am really concerned that my comment has been censored now for 21 hours. This is something I would not expect from the BBC.

  • Comment number 68.

    For the record my comment that was removed, no.64, expressed my strongly felt concerns at the journalistic strategy adopted by Rory in this interview. I hope that you will publish this clarification.

  • Comment number 69.

    Rory is slightly wrong about the i pad not playing flash video. Most flash video is playable by using the Skyfire browser which is available from the app store. There is also a bbc i player app available as well.


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