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BlackBerry PlayBook: Five things that killed world’s biggest tablet flop

BlackBerry PlayBook: Five things that killed world’s biggest tablet flop

And so the game is up for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

Nearly three years after its launch, the Canadian company last week confirmed that the tablet would not be getting a taste of its ace new BlackBerry 10 software, effectively consigning the device to the history books.

From the off, the slate was a disaster, beset by problems and a focal point for the hubristic last days of the former BlackBerry exec team.

Here are five things that helped ensure the PlayBook would never compete with the iPad

1 A tortuous wait

too late

The BlackBerry PlayBook was first shown off on October 25th 2010, just six months after the first iPad hit shelves.

The hope had clearly been to get the device on shelves ahead of the busy Christmas period.

Instead, RIM, as the company was then known, played a waiting game so tortuous that Apple had already released its iPad 2 by the time the PlayBook launched in the US in April 2011.

It didn’t reach the UK until June that year. It was already an outdated and outmoded piece of kit.

2 The lack of native email and calendar

blackberry playbook native mail

By far the biggest issue with the initial PlayBook software was its lack of native email and calendar clients.

That such a huge miss could happen despite a six-month delay between announcement and launch only served to attract bad press for the tablet.

Punters needed to use BlackBerry Bridge software to pair BlackBerry phones in order to see calendars or mail, or instead download third-party apps.

This wasn’t helped by BlackBerry execs steadfastly defending their position when it was clear this was a colossal failing.

3 Chronically bad app support

Blackberry Playbook

Apps are a tablet and smartphone’s lifeblood.

Unfortunately, the PlayBook didn’t have access to nearly enough to ensure that hardcore and casual users would flock to it, leaving it lacking in anything beyond the standard-issue add-ons from the web’s biggest players.

Seeing as Apple and Google had this area sewn up, getting developers on board was always going to be a tough ask.

4 A dismissive attitude to tablets

BlackBerry 10 Thorsten Heins

Even years after its launch, BlackBerry continued to sell the PlayBook despite clearly having no time for it.

Current CEO Thorsten Heins made the bizarre assertion earlier this year that the tablet space would be dead within five years.

This despite record iPad sales and a boom in Android tabs from the likes of Google, Amazon and Samsung. If anything, tablets are set to be an even bigger phenomenon by 2018.

5 BlackBerry 10

BlackBerry 10 announcement

The final nail in the PlayBook coffin. Having announced in January 2013 that it would be getting the sleek new BlackBerry 10 software, Heins and co confirmed last week that the device would be left stranded on its ageing operating system.

Too slow and too old, it couldn’t handle the speedy new tech. And yet the PlayBook soldiers on, a pointer to all those who think they can make half-baked attempts at competing with the world’s best gadgets.

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