Which Tablet Should I Buy?
Last week I was chatting online with my dad (I know!). He asked me what I thought about BlackBerry’s chances in the coming months specifically when (or if) they finally release BB10 the much anticipated – and thoroughly delayed – operating system touted as being their phoenix. My dad is a retired financial analyst who still enjoys dabbling in the markets and besides the question: “which tablet should I buy”, he was interested in my take on BlackBerry as a stock play. So I offered up my opinions on the early reviews of beta OS10 and the tab / smartphone market in general.
On BB10, due to be released in spring of 2013:
I’ve heard the usual bevy mixed reviews but that is mostly typical. I would say more positive than negative though for sure. It’s somewhat of a cross between Android and Windows 8 (which I am now using and liking very much). The release date has been pushed back a couple of times though which hasn’t helped their credibility. Certainly on their side is the fact that they are neither Apple nor Android. Uniqueness (at the very least) will be paramount to success.
On the evolution of the Smartphone:
Hard to be surprising with a smartphone anymore after all, just how far can you go with icons and tiles? There is going to be some convergence of aesthetics that will make it difficult to carve out a niche based on differentiation. My own belief is that technology for tablets and smartphones is going to plateau a bit. It won’t stop moving forward but not at the rate that it has been moving. Look at the latest iPhone and iPad releases (and the Android phones) for proof of that. Nothing major going on, just small incremental upgrades.
So, what’s the prognosis for BlackBerry then?
Insofar as how BlackBerry will fare… well, that’s anyone’s guess (or risk). On the upside they did crack the top 5 for smartphones manufacturers in the world last month and their overall subscribership is up again – well over 80 million now – mostly on the strength of sales in Asia. And those in the know are giving credit to Thorsten Heins for his pluckiness in the face of unbelievable adversity. And given that we all love an underdog, many are rooting for BlackBerry to make the comeback of the century so who knows? The biggest questions in everyone’s mind are:
- Will BB10 be good enough to spark interest
- Even if it is, will it be enough to woo back North America considering how much ground they’ve given up
- And most importantly, can they get enough interest out of app developers because without that, they’re dead in the water – plain and simple
Does that make them a smart play? Still very risky but if you have any beer bottle money laying around you could end up looking like a genius.
So who is a good play then?
A good play now (in my mind) is Microsoft. The ecosystem they are creating with Windows 8 – specifically with tabs and enterprise software capabilities – makes iPad look like the toy that everyone in the world except for fanboy has always said it was. The ability to run line of business apps on a PC, a tab and a smartphone is EXACTLY what has been needed in the enterprise, whether they know it or not. And isn’t creating something that no one knows they need yet exactly what Apple has made their inestimable fortunes on? Microsoft’s reemergence in the so-called “post PC” world (which is a load of hooey IMHO) may start slow but I believe they are going to give Apple a serious run for their money. The new Windows 8 supported tablet hardware is nothing short of spectacular (it simply had to be) and it will do more than any iPad ever dreamed of. I can tell you there are armies of business people who have been sitting quietly on the sidelines waiting for this. And Microsoft will have not have appdev issues like BlackBerry has, that is for certain.
What about Apple and Android?
Really hard to argue with Apple’s success but that in itself doesn’t guarantee the future. And with Apple and Samsung / Google / Android engaged in thermonuclear war, Microsoft (and BlackBerry for that matter) could very well sneak up on them and bite them on the butt – hard. People I talk to are pretty sick of the childlike manner in which Apple and the Android manufacturers <ahem, Samsung> are behaving and they may well get punished for it at some point. As evidenced by the recent fates of BlackBerry, people are fickle after all.