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Blackberry Playbook

I keep seeing ads on TV for the Blackberry Playbook, RIM’s answer to the iPad. Here’s the one I keep seeing on TV:

Blackberry Playbook: Flash

In general, I think RIM has some chance of making a splash, if only because I think Blackberries still dominate the large enterprise sphere, (see here for a reference to the latest trends) and a Blackberry tablet will likely make some headway there as companies stick with technology they know. It’s likely to be a tough fight, though, and I for one am still not convinced of the professional benefits of using a tablet.  Personally I get it, but as a business tool?  Not so much.

What struck me most about the ad, however, was the focus on Flash delivery. I’m frankly surprised that anyone would spend the thousands (millions?) on an ad highlighting one relatively minor feature out of the hundreds these devices provide.  As a streaming media guy, I understand the impact of Apple’s refusal to play with the industry standard.  But the rest of the world?  Given the sales numbers, estimated at a median of 6 million for ONE QUARTER (see here), nobody else seems terribly disturbed by the lack of Flash.

Flash is here to stay in some form, and on the whole I think it’s a decent streaming technology.  It lacks the metrics and multicast ability of Windows Media, but it reaches a lot of devices and that’s turned it into a standard for much of the world.  That said, there are a number of changes coming with HTML 5, and I think we’ll see a slow sea change towards that delivery and its h.264 codec – which nicely removes the issues with video delivery to mobile and tablet devices.

Frankly, I can’t for the life of me figure out RIM’s strategy in this ad, unless it’s pure desperation.

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