Notes on the Blackberry Playbook

What separates the Blackberry PlayBook from Apple’s iPad and other Android-based tablets?

The answer lies in the operating system.

The PlayBook runs on QNX which is a true micro kernel operating system.

Apple’s iPad runs on iOS which was derived from its core Mac OS X.  OS X was basically Darwin – an open-source, POSIX-compliant OS which was derived from the Steve Job’s founded NEXTStep OS (which Apple bought in 1997), BSD and other free software projects.  These are mostly UNIX-based derivatives.

Google’s Android is basically Linux – another UNIX variant – plus a lot of free-Java implemented codes.  Google basically patched-up the Android OS which they bought in 2005.

It’s interesting to note that UNIX, as well as most of Microsoft’s OSes like Windows, NT as well as the OS/2, have huge core OS codes.  And this is what slows them down.

Hardware makers tried to compensate for these monolithic OSes by using faster processors.

However, faster processors had been a bane on the battery life of these portable devices.

Remember the battery issue with Apple’s iPhone 4GS?  Apple issued a software patch.

The QNX OS on Blackberry PlayBook is what makes the device run so fast compared to the iPad and any other Android-based tablet.

QNX is a true micro kernel implementation of an operating system.  It’s so ideal for embedded platforms.

QNX is not new either.  It has been around since the early 80s.  The last gadget I had messed with that runs on QNX was the very ambitious Netpliance device released in 1999.  See post on my old version of my web site here.

Given that all hardware components inside the guts most tablets are sourced from the same suppliers. And, given that some designs may be better than others, it’s always the OS that run the hardware that makes the most magic.

And so, I thought my 16GB Blackberry PlayBook – which I had scored for $199 during their November 2011 sale – will be relegated to the junk bin in my closet after only a few weeks of use.

I was wrong.

No, no, no.  Hands down, it’s way much better than Apple’s iPad or any other Android-based tablet out there in the market today.

Now, I intend to get a second one – the 32GB this time while it’s still on sale.

And, I’ll say it again.

Some companies, no matter how good their products are, don’t always serve the best interest of their customers.