What Does the Future Hold for PlayBook?
Ever since I’ve used electronics, I’ve loved portability. As a kid, I used to take my Commodore64 when we traveled to grandma’s. I had a Speak N’ Spell that I carried around. It’s just been a part of who I am. Never in my dreams did I conceive of something like a tablet. Even the early ones like the Newton never really struck me as useful. Maybe it was because I was just in a different phase of life.
Today, though, I can’t imagine going anywhere without my PlayBook. It makes such a great expansion to my BlackBerry. Yet, there is so much more that can be done with a tablet. One of my favorite concepts has come from ASUS with the Transformer. Using the tablet as a screen for a laptop just makes sense to me. Beyond that though is the idea that you can use the storage (either internal or SD) to carry docs and media, the two key uses for tablets.
Now let’s take those two concepts and merge them. An extension of your handheld and carrying the screen and data of a laptop. That is where I see the future of PlayBook. Without a doubt, RIM is looking to get the PlayBook into enterprise situations. With BlackBerry Balance to partition the PlayBook, the opportunity to create a piece of business hardware that allows for the ultimate portable office becomes so viable, it would be silly for RIM not to pursue the following concept.
In the morning, you wake up to a docked PlayBook. The dock is connected via HDMI to your monitor or TV and via BlueTooth to a keyboard. Your BlackBerry is of course connected via Bridge and the touchscreen on your BlackBerry functions as a mouse. You swipe on your PlayBook check your emails that it has notified you about. After downloading some work attachments to your PlayBook and watching the YouTube video your mom sent you, you snag the PlayBook out of the dock and pocket both it and your handheld Berry and head out to work.
Upon arriving at work, a dock and HDMI connected monitor await you with a USB connected external HDD and of course a BlueTooth keyboard. Docking your PlayBook, you now have access to those files you dropped on it from teh attachments this morning as well as all of the data from the HDD. Thanks to BlackBerry Balance, your personal info on the PlayBook isn’t an issue.
Later in the day, you have a presentation across town. So, you grab some of the work files you will need from the HDD, drop them on the PlayBook, pocket it once again, and head out. At the presentation, you hook the PlayBook up to the projector with the HDMI connection and control the presentation with BlackBerry Remote on your handheld. After a successful show, you once again pocket your PlayBook and head back to the office.
ON your way back, you stop at a coffeehouse. You want to write up some notes about the presentation, so you toss the PlayBook into its keyboard case and type away. Wanting to get those notes to the boss as soon as possible, once you finish the notes, you send them off via email and continue your trek back.
Once back, you dock the PlayBook, sync it up to the HDD, undock, pocket and head home. You open the current book you’re reading on the train ride. After arriving at home, you hook up the PlayBook to your TV and kick back on the couch with BlackBerry Remote and flip on a movie.
The scenario I describe isn’t far fetched. The idea is that that the PlayBook functions as the main device to carry both work and personal information. There’s no desktop at work. There’s no desktop at home. The PlayBook is the portable office and the BlackBerry handheld is its control. The only component that is a creation of my mind is the dock station. It makes perfect sense to have. I’m not sure why RIM hasn’t released one. It keeps the PlayBook charged, accesses USBOTG, has an HDMI port and, my personal touch, has boosted speakers. If RIM wanted to go the full route, they could make the dock the keyboard as well, like the Transformer Dock, but a BlueTooth keyboard works just as well.
Tablets have the ability to become the portable office. I’d really like to see RIM take advantage of what they have and capture the enterprise market with it. Balance, Fusion, Bridge, and QNX can make it all happen. What do you think? Should RIM head that direction?