April 19, 2011

Wall Street executives who like the iPad but are addicted to their BlackBerry now have a solution: RIM's new PlayBook tablet, which launched today. But will it strike a chord with CrackBerries?

Well, according to initial reports of empty stores, it's off to a slow start. Or at least it's failed to whip up a similar frenzy to the iPad (or any new Apple product, for that matter.)

But analysts in this CNBC video think the PlayBook could be a sleeper hit, since it is targeted at enterprises and professionals who love their BlackBerries (and that's a lot of them) .

For those who think that Apple is the only company that can stir up any kind of passionate emotion from its users, think again: www.crackberry.com is a site dedicated to BlackBerry users and abusers featuring news coverage, how to guides, forums and BlackBerry software, themes and accessories. So will BlackBerry lovers flock to the PlayBook? After all, Wall Street professionals - particularly institutional investors, retail traders and financial advisors - have already embraced the iPad. Firms like Morgan Stanley, TD Ameritrade and Barclays Capital are just some of the big firms that have recently launched popular apps for the Apple device.

Well, the RIM tablet only works with WiFi, unlike the iPad which also works on cellular networks. That's actually a plus: it means users can get online using the BlackBerry's cellular connection. You don't have to pay an extra $15 or $20 a month for a tethering plan, as you do with the iPhone or Android.

The price for the PlayBook is the same as the iPad2: around $500.

But here's a downer for BlackBerry users who constantly check their email like a nervous twitch: for now, they won't be able to do it on the PlayBook since RIM's tablet does not have e-mail, calendar or address book apps of its own.

Wait - A BlackBerry product that can't do e-mail? We'll have to see how this one pans out.

Still, if the apps and email arrive, [RBS just launched an app for the PlayBook] -- and the RIM tablet manages to stay afloat in the sea of rival tablets, its next version could be a hit with the millions of enterprises and professionals who can't live without their BlackBerries.

That is, if these BlackBerry lovers haven't already jumped ship with their tablet purchases and gone for an iPad.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...