Blackberryâ€™s PlayBook tablet has suffered tremendously in the PR realm since being released last year. After initially being met with mixed reviews, the tablet was faulted for its lack of key features and returned by users to retailers in droves. Hundreds of thousands of PlayBooks still sat on retailer shelves at the end of last year, a fact that motivated RIM to make drastic price reductions to the product.
(image courtesy of RIM)
Now, the company is trying to revive the tablet by introducing a keyboard accessory â€“ the Mini Keyboard â€“ that offers considerable portability, ease, and sophistication. While other tablet manufacturers have introduced similar keyboards of their own, the Blackberry version appears poised as one of the best options out there.
The Mini Keyboard is just 0.24 millimeters thick and offers users a sleek and portable design (replete with a carrying case), a touchpad that works well with the PlayBookâ€™s unique mouse strokes, a superb battery capacity (up to 30 days without needing charge), and even a 128-bit keystroke encryption. The keyboard is small but, according to reviews, a highly functional and adaptable one.
RIM hopes that the keyboardâ€™s success will help the company rebrand and reposition its PlayBook as a tablet well-suited for the user who seeks durability, speed, and productivity. While the tablet may not provide the many features shared by its competitors, it can still function as a cheap (and lightweight) laptop for heavy-duty users. It can still provide fast typing speeds, fast boost speeds, and fast browsing speeds in this age of ultra-quick T3 bandwidth and MegaPath DSL internet connections. But for the PlayBook to have these strengths, the Mini Keyboard needs to not simply be a good product (which it is), but also a redefining one (which it very well may not).
The Blackberry Mini Keyboard retails at $119.99. Will it help nudge the PlayBook back towards relevance? RIMâ€™s executives can only hope.
This guest post is by Nancy Evans. She is a freelance writer that specializes in tech and business.