In an attempt to draw decent Android apps to the BlackBerry App World, they are offering free PlayBooks to developers who submit new apps by February 13. Vice President of developer relations Alec Saunders tweeted the offer February 2.
An Attempt to Overcome Negativity?
It is speculated by many in the tech world that this is a way to get the PlayBook out on the market, in the hands of developers who might possibly talk it up to push sales upwards. What is the problem with the PlayBook, anyway? There are some users who claim it is works very well, but with no email client and a ghost town App World, many are hesitant to invest $199, which is still cheaper than the PlayBook was going for when it was originally released on the market. Back in November 2011, RIM dropped the price to $199 from $300 in attempts to increase sales. Apparently, that didn't work either.
The drop in price wasn't enough to increase their sales, and even if it had, it's speculated it would have made it worse for RIM in the end. After all, if consumers were to purchase the device, some say they would have been unhappy. Unhappy consumers add up to more bad press for the device.
The Real Problem
The main reason most choose other tablets rather than the PlayBook is the fact the BlackBerry App World has an extremely limited offering of apps. It is likely the hope that this call to developers will produce more, although whether they will be high quality remains to be seen. With a couple of weeks offered to qualify for the deal, that doesn't leave a lot of time for creating and debugging a quality, useful app properly.
Another problem with consumers: PlayBook users must wait until this month, a total of 10 months waiting time since the release of the device, to receive updates addressing some of the problems like missing email functionality, contact syncing with LinkedIn, a video store to download content, and access to Google's Android apps to open up the app offering even more. Many wonder why the update is taking so long, as many have impatiently resorted to purchasing a different tablet.
Whether or not the device receives the required updates and developers flood the App World with useful (or not) apps, it remains to be seen if the PlayBook can recover RIM's reputation. Some experts feel the PlayBook will be a great tablet once the long list of problems is corrected, while others are saying it won't matter as it is still no competition with what other tablets have to offer. If RIM was serious about competing with other tablet manufacturers, shouldn't they have addressed these problems before putting it out on the market? It may not be suitable for the corporate consumer, but doesn't the average consumer also desire email functionality?
Developers can expect to receive a 16GB PlayBook as long as they are registered with the BlackBerry App World as a developer and submit their application by the deadline. They must meet the criteriea laid out in the BlackBerry App World Vendor Guidelines, ensuring those receiving free PlayBooks aren't submitting junk. Android applications must be in .bar file format, and RIM is offering tools for developers to make sure the app is compatible. Time will tell if this offer will aid in increasing sales of the device.