I don’t understand why so many reviewers bend over backwards to grade these things on a curve. If the iPad 2 had the problems and deficiencies the Xoom and PlayBook have, these same reviewers would (rightly) trash it, and declare (again, rightly) that Apple had finally lost its Midas touch.
These aren’t “beta” tablets. They’re bad tablets. It’s that simple. It’s true that their hardware seems closer to iPad-caliber than their software, but improving software is the hardest part of making products like these. By the time RIM releases “a serious software update or three” the entire market will have changed. The truth is, Motorola, Samsung, and now RIM have released would-be iPad competitors that pale compared to the iPad. Just say it.
I’m obviously a fan of car metaphors and they seem to be going around lately in the tech world.
To rephrase Gruber’s response, if the PlayBook was a Ferrari (I’m partial to the 458), it would be a Ferrari that can’t make left turns and doesn’t have adjustable seats. Yes, it’s a Ferrari, and it’s fast and grips the road like a jungle cat, but it’s incomplete. It’s missing important features.
To digress a bit, this is one of the reasons I love BBC series Top Gear (not the crap US version) – they don’t pull punches. If a Bentley handles like shit, they say so. The tech world would be wise to take some notes from Jeremy Clarkson and team*.
* For a great example see Top Gear’s review of Alpha Romeo’s 8C, at around the 3:40 mark is when Clarkson lets the honestly flood gates wide open.