RIM’s ‘iPad-Killing’ PlayBook Suffers Fresh Slate of Battery Woes

RIM’s ‘iPad-Killing’ PlayBook Suffers Fresh Slate of Battery Woes

Oh, Research In Motion! Can you for one moment stop making your would-be iPad killer suck even harder than it already does?

Panned critically at debut, RIM recently had to recall over a thousand half-baked units. Now reports indicate that a recent patch has made PlayBook performance even worse than it was before.

According to many PlayBook users, a patch released earlier this month for RIM’s tablet enabled new video chat functionality, as well as BlackBerry Messaging via RIM’s Blackberry Bridge application.

But guess what? That update was as half-baked as anything else RIM’s done with the PlayBook. RIM now admits that after upgrading the software, it is common for the battery to drain faster than normal or for the battery level to fluctuate irregularly.

Of course, battery problems are par for the course for the PlayBook, which have been plagued with issues in adapting their QNX touch-based OS (which was originally meant for in-car dashes) to a mobile, battery-powered device.

Even so, this has just become embarassing. You know, RIM… you can let go of the controls once you’ve smashed the jet into the ground, the wheels have popped up and the engine’s exploded.

  • gareth edwards

    You know the thing that amazes me, the fact that all these companies are full of really talented people. They have to be by default. You can’t make stuff ‘like wot they make’, unless there’s a few clever bods wandering about. Now if this is the case what in Hell’s name is going on inside these companies to make these clever people make such stupid mistakes?   Is it marketing and management forcing stuff out too quickly?

    One a side note – how funny is this! If there’s one thing a business suit needs, it’s fuckin’ great big chunk of tablet in your inside breast pocket (WHO MAKES THESE CLOTHES WITH MONSTER POCKETS?)

    http://blogs.blackberry.com/20

    the article is funny too, great timing.

  • cyberb0b

     I agree that they are full of talented people, but IMO, they are just not talented enough. 

  • Don Pope

    It’s the culture. You might have boatloads of talented people, but if you don’t have the right culture of innovation and quality, you’ll produce crap. Most companies have a few backstabbing, brown nosing a**holes who destroy everything they touch yet keep getting promoted.

  • OS2toMAC

    Why should RIM be different than any other company?  OF COURSE management/marketing are forcing stuff out the door before it is ready.  I’ve been in Application Development of one type or another for > 30 years.  Every project is given an install/release date, then the start date is backed into.  Without fail the start date should have been 3 months sooner, so design work is sped up, development is squeezed, and testing is minimized.  BUT WE MET THE DATE (for hopefully a small pile of crap, not a boatload of it).  We added only half the required functionality and half of that works as designed.  That is OK though, we’ll fix it in the next release, or 5.

  • Carlos Rincon Eckardt

     Anybody want to buy a Crapberry Shitbook? me personally… I’m forking over my hard earned cash for an iPad 2 as soon as it becomes available in my country! If you’re gonna sink 500 big ones on a tablet, let it be on the market leader, not on some half-baked desperate attempt to play catch up by a company that’s going down like the Titanic!

  • Paul

     It’s not to hard to understand the issues of Apple’s competitors once you really get to know the history of Steve Jobs and Apple. Steve Jobs has ingrained a culture into Apple that started when he founded it then continued when he regained the reigns. The competitors and their appropriate fanboys don’t understand the quality standards they have and how long it took to make the iPad. They are trying the “feature creep” that Steve Jobs fights against and hates and its showing why.

  • B Stur

    The major problem for RIM and Apple’s other competitors is that not only is the iPad in it’s second iteration, but Apple had been doing Research and Development on tablets for several years before introducing the iPad. Now the competition is trying to catch up too quickly and making many mistakes that Apple had already made, but Apples mistakes were during the R & D stage, while the competition is making mistakes while rushing to jump into the market. They all should take a few years to just do their own R & D before putting out any product if they really want to compete with Apple. For right now Apple’s competitors are only competing with themselves. 
    The real iPad 2 “killers” will appear in about 2 to 3 years, when Apple is on the iPad 5…

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    POS!  …and I don’t mean point-of-sales.  Don’t tell me a 7″ tablet is only going to get 5 hours out of a battery charge.  That’s just pathetic.  Hopefully it’s just some firmware bug that’s easily corrected.

    RIM should have stayed out of the tablet race and concentrated on improving their smartphones for consumers and businesses.  I really respect RIM but they just don’t stand a chance against those cheap and slick Android smartphones.  They’re just throwing money and effort into a lost cause.  Android is going to own all the low end crap tablet market and Apple is going to own the high to mid tablet market so what’s the point.  RIM got caught with it’s pants around it’s ankles with the iPad just as they did when the iPhone was announced.  It was like “Where did the tablet market come from all of a sudden?” and a mad scramble ensued.  Hell, this was the company where one of the CEOs said he thought touch screens were useless.

  • prof_peabody

    There are different types of talent also.  It’s not like being smart gives you perfect design sense or marketing sense.  They are all different qualities. 

    Best example is Google.  They are full to the brim with some of the smartest engineers on the planet, but they can’t even design an attractive icon, let alone a whole software package.  They don’t even understand what is wrong with half their products let alone how to fix them. 

  • pangeomedia

    QNX dates back to the very early 1980s. Slim, fast, stable, and small. RIM made a smart move by buying QNX, but it’s all about execution, right? In two or three years the whole RIM PlayBook package will be great. Of course, the iPad will be on version 4 or 5 by then…

  • Andrew

     I’ve owned an iPad since day 1 (with no desire for v2). However, I’ve recently traded to a Win7 tablet to do some ‘real work’, but it is (painfully) obvious that the interface is awful…
    …spent an hour with the Playbook in store, including pairing to my BB handset. I love the fact that it doesn’t have separate email. I love the fact that for $80 monthly I get worldwide unlimited data. I would love the fact that I don’t have to lock ‘3G’ before giving it to the kids…
    The iPad is for fun, the Win7 pad is for work – but the Playbook is the one I can actually afford to use to travel with for play and work.
    Early days, but lets hope this gets fixed by firmware updates & not an ‘improved’/incompatible version 2, ten I would feel cheated!

  • ichunes

     I thought amateur hour is over.

  • geoX

     Fuuny, all those years Apple worked on battery chemistry, power saving between software and hardware, radio signaling research, etc actualy meant something. Good luck catching up, RIMM

  • John Marshall

    Ha! Way to burn. If anyone spent at least half as long as Apple on product development, we might actually have some decent alternatives.

  • Jay Jones

     you are joking of course. The iPad is being used everywhere because of its enterprise capabilities.  Hospitals, big Pharma, schools, universities, medical clinics, individual physicians and so on and so forth. The iPad is burying all the competition.  Your comments are laughable and pathetic

  • Walter Dithers

    Which ‘Win7′ tablet? $80 a MONTH for 3G access? That is truly NUTS.
    Any country I go to, I simply get a FREE mini-sim, and then pay around $15 for 3G access for a month. Perhaps you dont know about the Apps for Aviation, Marine, Medical, Engineering, etc. etc.  ALL on the iPad (1 or 2) 

    Silly comment, untrue, inauthentic – grow up and stop posting crap on websites, or, if you insist on doing so, try to make your posts believeable.

  • iphonolog

     “Early days, but lets hope this gets fixed by firmware updates & not an ‘improved’/incompatible version 2, ten I would feel cheated!”

    Do you also sit at home and hope that money will fall from heaven and land on your lap? Your faith in RIM is so strong, and yet Apple buyers have been called “fanbois”… strange.

  • iphonolog

    You can have the best ingredients from the market, but if the chef doesn’t know how to orchestrate the kitchen, you’ll get chopped liver.

  • freerange

     Well aren’t you just the genius! You went to Win7 pad for “work”? Then the Playbook? But your iPad is just for fun? So all the enterprises that are now adopting iPads must have no clue what they are doing? And meanwhile you keep pissing away your money… ROFL

  • freerange

    desperation is driving this train down the wrong tracks – they are so focused on trying to fill gaps before they lose even more share that they have forgotten that “it’s all about the consumer stupid” – you have to meet their needs and expectations or you will fail – and they have fail written all over them…

  • applemoney

     The only way Black Berry
    can compete with the iPad is with lower prices. Black Berry needs to
    be at least 20 percent cheaper than any comparable iPad.

  • Mike

    Playbooks dont display the time left on the charge like your pic. Did you photoshop that?

  • Andrew Hellin

    uhh anyone that owns a pb (myself included) knows that the battery indicator does not have a time remaining. Nor is the the batter indicator so small.  Nice photo shop work you idiot.

  • A. Nonny Moose

    As a chronic early adopter, my iPad has been put aside in favor of my Playbook. I’m going to go to a wifi hotspot and watch some YouTube. And do my banking (which I couldn’t before because the iPad thought it was a bad idea).

  • A. Nonny Moose

    QNX meant for in-car dashes? Okay, so I get that you’re a nervous fanboy…and yes, QNX is used in more than 240 vehicle models around the world. But it’s also used in the F-18 fighter jet (and others – which seems like a place you’d want something reliable), ship control systems, manufacturing control systems, and the space shuttle.

  • Andrew

    Walter: HP Slate 500 (killer feature for me “Offline Files” with Windows 7 Professional). $80 is the FULL bill, BBM, e-mail & web for my phone – nothing extra for tethering (using BB Bridge). Hotels are circa $15-25 per night, and I already have a six-pack of SIM cards. You might also have heard about the companies that don’t update their infrastructure and where even a Mac is an unsupported device.

    Jay: I wish I was joking – I can’t support my job requirements (at my own cost) on an iPad – I wish I could.

    iphono: Yes, I believe in Santa & no I don’t think I’ll ‘win’ a p***ing contest on a Mac site. I read the Mac blogs for information (good & bad) and the comments for entertainment. Sorry, my mistake.

    freerange: You’re spot on about the enterprises not knowing what they’re doing. I’m sure that there are some ideal implementations, but as a ‘Dilbert’ fan I’ve also seen the dark side.

    As a first post, I really appreciate the responses generated (which wasn’t my real intention, but it could become addictive).

    Bottom line – NONE of the tablets are “all things to all people”. Regardless of YOUR opinion, some other device may help someone else better. Just sharing an opinion with that aim – this was an article about the Playbook after all.

    Pluses you can all read elsewhere… so the downside from my limited experience:
    1. iPad – no file system, limited web support, poor tabbed browsing, slooow page loading, no iPhoto sync (& iTunes photo ‘optimisation’), no user-customisable templates for Pages, can’t share 3G subscription with other devices (AT&T), iTunes sync nonsense, 2GB artificial limit on Dropbox. [Obviously more ‘defects’ as I’ve had plenty of time to notice what I’m missing.)
    2. Truly awful touch interface: small icons, cluttered & inconsistent keyboard, windows bloat/security updates & vulnerabilities. 
    3. Playbook – low install base & limited software availability.
    (4. MacBook Air – hinge & keyboard…)

    I’m looking for a device to fit between a MBP and a smartphone. Unfortunately, FOR ME, the iPad is not it (despite the fact that I really like it). The Playbook looks like it might fit my casual browsing & email needs while travelling – for NO additional roaming cost. If I can transfer my movies & audio *simply*, then it will replace the job that the iPad was purchased for. It won’t replace ALL functionality, but the functionality I’m prepared to pay for, rather than have added on as a freebie!

    Regardless of your ‘fanbois’ jibe, I’m one of the 3(?) who wished (pre-launch) that the iPad would be a full Mac OS device!

    I’m truly OS agnostic and don’t care which brand I use, as long as it does the job promised and expected, with reliability & support.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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