Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bad Buy: Blackberry Playbook

Early adoption of new technologies is not something I can usually stomach. I like to play it safe in life. Given my track record, I should keep it that way because I do not have a good history with choosing winners.

Blackberry Playbook tablet: I bought into the hype
My most recent failure was the Research in Motion Blackberry Playbook. For some reason, I felt inclined to buy one of these tablets a week or two after it was released (i.e. be an early adopter). This was a much hyped product and some people, including me, thought that it would be the only viable competitor to the Apple iPad. Tablets were being released left and right, the Playbook just seemed different.

Shortly after release, I believe the media had already begun badmouthing it. The device was apparently released prematurely, had no email application, and sales weren't exactly stellar upon release. I ignored all of that news and blew them off as rumors or pointless babble. It just had to be mine and with a $100 Best Buy gift card in hand, I made sure it was.


Troubles? What do I do with this thing?
Unfortunately, the fact that it was a bad purchase for me had nothing to really do with the tablet itself. I'm a dinosaur and still, to this day, use my internet browser for email. Logging into Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail in separate windows doesn't bother me. The lack of an email app and other fun or useful apps made virtually no difference in my mind.

Trouble showed up a few days after I bought the $500 tablet and a protective case. There was nothing wrong with the Playbook: it was the fact that the device was collecting dust on my desk. The tablet was still a capable browser with a camera, a good set of stereo speakers, a sleek interface, smooth operation, responsive, and pretty fast. I just didn't feel like using it.

For the first while, I kept telling myself that I'd use it later, I'd use it outdoors or at school. None of that happened. When I made it to school, I discovered that the Wi-Fi antenna was incapable of picking up any solid signals in my regular classrooms and hangouts -- a problem my laptop didn't have. After some googling, it turned out that many people with tablets and phones had similar reception issues. The only place I could get a signal was near the routers, which were strategically placed inside the computer labs. Guess who had a working log-in on those lab computers?

With school being a write off, there wasn't much left. I didn't and still don't go to coffee shops to sit down and chill where there is a router close by. The Playbook worked as a camera, but so did my phone and actual camera -- both of which were lighter and smaller. At home, I preferred to use my desktop computer with a massive 24" monitor and hi-fi speakers rather than a 7" screen with relatively limited storage capacity.

My boom box go bye-bye
Eventually, I settled on taking the device to work and leaving it at my desk. It became my boom box for a while much to the annoyance to my neighbors. Something didn't sit right though because once a coworker inquired about buying it off me, I dove at the opportunity and pawned it at a huge loss. This was about a year and a half later, and the final damage was over $400: sold for $150, originally bought for $500 plus $50 for a case. I had probably recharged the battery ten times when I sold it.

At that point in time, the Playbook had released a huge software update months prior. This introduced missing apps for things that people were initially complaining about like email and a calendar. It didn't appear to have the sales boost that was hoped for because I recall major sales a few months later. The price for the cheapest model, which I had, was reduced to about $200 or less, if I recall correctly.

So now then...
Ugh, and there went $500 for a paper weight. While the device itself wasn't successful, evident by the fact that it was cleared out at huge discounts and discontinued with no replacement, it was mainly a failure for me because it didn't fit my lifestyle. I sincerely doubt that I would have been happier with an iPad. Well, maybe a bit because I would have been the owner of an "it" product. Sigh...

I'm going to hold my lighter up in memory of that wasted $500.

Bad Buy: Playstation 3
Good Buy: "Hi-fi" Speakers. Remember to bring a car...
Good Buy: Intel 520 SSD