Interview with BlackBerry PlayBook tablet Marketing Manager Jeff Gadway
Get the inside scoop on the hot, new BlackBerry tablet.
Fresh off a fantastic showing at CES (Consumer Electronics Show), we sat down with BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet Marketing Manager Jeff Gadway. Find out why in a sea of tablets, the BlackBerry PlayBook really stands out, what features got people really excited at CES, and what you can look forward to when the BlackBerry PlayBook launches.
You were lucky enough to go to CES recently. What were some of the things people there kept saying about the BlackBerry PlayBook?
There was a lot, actually. In terms of the actual design, people loved the size and the weight and the fact that feels really well constructed, and that it was portable enough to take everywhere and anywhere. Then when they saw what it could do, they were really amazed by the power, the fluidity and the responsiveness of it. The third thing people really talked a lot about was around the multi-tasking of the product.
Let's talk about the multi-tasking. For those that haven't had the chance to experience it, can you tell us more about it?
Multitasking on the BlackBerry PlayBook really is that; it’s true multitasking. It’s running multiple applications or programs simultaneously. A lot of other tablets claim to do multi-tasking, but what they really do is app switching – basically pausing apps in the background while jumping between them. With multitasking on the BlackBerry PlayBook though, you work more like you’re used to, working on multiple screens and running multiple programs at the same time.
It's able to do things other
tablets simply can't, and it is a best in class tool
What are you finding people are using tablets for, and what are they saying they're excited to use the BlackBerry PlayBook for?
In the last 8-10 months, tablets have emerged as a new way to consume content – web content, multimedia content, and apps. And for the most part, this happens in the home, especially because of the size and weight of the units.
Of course the BlackBerry PlayBook is going to be great for content consumption, but it's also great for content creation. Everything from business apps to personal productivity stuff to creating and editing documents – which is something you simply can't do with many other tablets. And since it weighs less than a pound, and is only 0.4′ thick (about the same as a CD jewel case) users will be able to take this powerful tablet everywhere with them.
For you, what are the coolest things about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet?
There are two things that really stand out for me. First is the web browsing experience. With BlackBerry PlayBook, you're not getting a scaled-down, mobile version of the web. You're getting the web the way it was designed, and the way its content was designed to be experienced. It really is an uncompromised web browsing experience.
The second stand out feature is the multi-tasking. And we've talked about this a lot already, so I won't go into too much more detail here. But the thing to keep in mind about multitasking on the BlackBerry PlayBook is that you're not changing the way you work to fit within the constraints of technology. We've actually designed the technology to fit around the way you work.
Now, about the name: why BlackBerry 'PlayBook'?
We choose the name BlackBerry PlayBook because it has a lot of meaning with both consumers and businesses. A “playbook” is a critical document from sports teams to businesses. In the world of business your playbook is vital. For consumers, the name BlackBerry PlayBook helps to indicate the fun and joy this product will deliver through the world “play”.
Are there any common questions about BlackBerry PlayBook you'd like to address right now?
Sure thing. We hear some people asking “do I need to own a BlackBerry smartphone to own a BlackBerry PlayBook?” The answer is, of course, No. On its own, the BlackBerry tablet is a best in class, Wi-Fi® enabled tablet. It features uncompromised web browsing, full multi-tasking, a rich and immersive multimedia experience, and an amazing collection of apps and content.
With that said, there are some additional benefits for those users who do own a BlackBerry smartphone. Pairing your BlackBerry PlayBook with your BlackBerry smartphone lets you use and interact with the core BlackBerry services you love, like email, BBM™, calendar, and more, on the larger BlackBerry PlayBook tablet display. The notification systems are linked as well, so you'll know when you get a new email or calendar or to-do reminder.
Another question people have been asking is around battery life. Early on, there were some reports that speculated on battery life. Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. We're very committed to developing products that deliver high performance, high quality user experiences and great battery life plays a big part in this.
In the end, it's a strategy tool, but it also has a fun and playful side too.
Beyond multi-tasking and the true web browsing experience, what else can BlackBerry PlayBook users look forward to?
Another really cool feature on BlackBerry PlayBook is the micro-HDMI port. With it, you get the ability to watch or view anything that's on your BlackBerry tablet screen on a full-size LCD or Plasma TV screen. Everything from movies in full 1080p HD to business documents and presentations to Internet.
Why do you think people should buy a BlackBerry PlayBook instead of a competing tablet?
The big reason is that the BlackBerry PlayBook is professional grade. And that's not to say it's made just for professionals and professional environments- although we're sure they'll love the BlackBerry PlayBook too. When we say 'professional grade' we're talking about the quality and the performance of the product. It has higher performance standards, true multi-tasking, true web browsing. It's able to do things other tablets simply can't, and it really is a best in class tool.
Anything else cool or interesting that happened at CES?
Yeah, we actually announced at CES that, come summer 2011, we'll be releasing the first 4G BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with Sprint. That was really exciting. The ability to get the tablet's amazing web browsing experience at blazing fast speeds really excited people.
What kind of accessories can we expect with the BlackBerry PlayBook?
One really cool accessory is the desktop charging stand. It holds the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at just the right angle and charges it very quickly. We're also working on a wireless keyboard. I still can't say much about it except it is on its way, so people can look forward to that. And, of course, we're going to have a full range of skins, cases, leather folios and other accessories you can use to protect and transport and personalize your BlackBerry PlayBook
Of course, everyone is interested in price and availability. So, any ideas when it will be available and for how much?
We don't have anything definitive yet, but I can say it will be priced competitively and will be available in the first quarter of 2011. So, soon.
So, wrapping up. We've covered a ton of information here today, but for those that want more, where can they find it?
For more info, people can check out the BlackBerry PlayBook page at BlackBerry.com/PlayBook, or our YouTube page at YouTube.com/BlackBerry. On YouTube, I'd recommend starting with the BlackBerry PlayBook Web Fidelity Video.