RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie thinks highly of his company’s upcoming tablet, the Playbook, as during RIM’s last quarterly earning meeting, he wasn’t exactly kind to the devices his competitors launched so far, and considered his tablet to be “way ahead” of the iPad. But so far, nobody had the chance to play with the PlayBook, and according to a report from industry analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros, the tablet is proving to be more difficult to finalize than expected. According to Wu, RIM is struggling with battery-related issues, as the PlayBook prototypes are unable to function more than a couple of hours with a full battery, while the iPad’s battery can easily deal with 10+ hours of intensive use. The PlayBook may be a great device, but its operating system, QNX, was simply never optimized to run on a mobile device, and apparently drains the prototypes’ batteries a lot faster than expected – until RIM acquired it, the operating system was meant to end up in cars and nuclear power plants. The battery issues will likely delay the launch of the PlayBook, now expected to hit store shelves by May 2011, after the launch of the iPad 2. As a result, Wu believes the iPad will dominate the tablet market for a while, and expects RIM to sell less than a million tablets next year, while Apple is expected to sell almost 50 million iPads during the same period. Interestingly enough, back in 2007, RIM couldn’t believe that the original iPhone was real, as most of its engineers thought its battery couldn’t possibly last more than a couple of minutes given the impressive features the device sported at the time (click here for more details) – as it turned out, the iPhone battery did just fine, but the joke is now on RIM. [UPDATE] RIM just issued a statement about the alleged issue:
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 […] RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery lifeNote that the statement fails to give more details about the potential delays related to “its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life”, or what RIM is actually comparing its upcoming tablet to.