The BlackBerry PlayBook – what I believe to be the best tablet on the market today. Before you scoff at it and say this isn’t true, read on.

After being released in April 2011, the PlayBook had hardware specs that rivaled some of the higher end devices, however it definitely did not appear to be “future-proof”, meaning its processor speeds, memory, apps, and features had the potential to be out-of-date before it even went on sale. A year later, RIM has not released a hardware update (though one is likely coming soon with 4G capabilities) because the specs on the original model are still good enough to power the incredible QNX workforce OS. If you don’t know who or what QNX is, do a quick Google search, they do too much to list here and are more concentrated in our daily lives that anyone cares to investigate or believe.

Competitors have released new products, but RIM has held the fort with their tablet offering because they CAN. The OS that powers the PlayBook doesn’t need the latest and greatest and speediest processors, it uses the power of QNX to remain efficient even when the user’s multi-tasking demands increase. When competitors come out with new products, it’s because they HAVE to — their OS’ cannot power the new apps and demands that users are throwing at them. This leads to bigger, heavier, hotter batteries (if not, then decreased battery life), less stable OS’, and numerous features that basically go unnoticed by the average user.

The PlayBook is not an “app-runner” like other tablets on the market; that is, it does not simply rely on apps to be the main support of its native software. The iPad, in my opinion, is simply an “app-runner”. It relies on apps and fortunately for it, developers believe in it enough to continue to create apps for the platform. It’s the highest seller, the market leader – so this is understandable. The PlayBook, though, is not just an “app-runner”, it has an OS and native capabilities that help to increase personal efficiency and productivity. The PlayBook is not the PLAYbook, it is a playbook – a manual for success in our day-to-day lives.

What does the iPad do without apps other than being a screen with squares on it?

The PlayBook is meant to be a complementary device to your current smartphone, and it is definitely better suited to be paired with a BlackBerry smartphone. Here in lies the root of RIM’s current struggles – marketing. This has been talked about for years as something RIM has not done well and the PlayBook is a prime example. The PlayBook should not be marketed as RIM’s iPad; it should be marketed as a complementary device to your smartphone that provides greater capabilities, performance and features than exist in smaller handsets.

The PlayBook, in my opinion, is not an iPad competitor. The PlayBook is in its own class – it is the first device that truly complements the cell phone we’ve all been carrying around for so long. All small screens of cell phones have their limitations, be it with streaming media, viewing large files and documents, reading for an extended period of time… the list goes on and on. The PlayBook is the first device that Bridges the gap, yet still makes your phone feel necessary and useful.

Bridge – the one thing that RIM does that no one else can match and that RIM needs to market correctly. If you have a BlackBerry smartphone and a PlayBook, you’re in 7th heaven as far as connectivity and possibilities go. Bridge allows your PlayBook to always be connected to the web, without the user having to do a thing. Some may say tethering does this as well, however, some carriers charge more for tethering, plus the user needs to pull out their phone to turn it on each time. Bridge is always connected (if you choose). One thing RIM does well is BBM. The best part of BBM is that it is always running. There is never a need to open an app, never a chance to miss a message. The same holds true with Bridge. It is always connected and works to complement your BB smartphone. I won’t list the features of Bridge here, but they are potentially endless.

Think of automobiles. QNX powers a ton of in-car computer systems. RIM owns QNX. The PlayBook runs a QNX-based OS. See where I’m going with this? Connectivity in your car would be easily accomplished by using a variation of Bridge. A car that is always connected is possible, just like a PlayBook that is always connected – – without paying a higher monthly contract price to carriers. Just turn on your car, and it automatically pairs with your smartphone (like some cars already do for Bluetooth phone calls, music, etc), except now it also pairs in the sense that it extends your data plan to features in your car’s electronics. From navigation to media to communications, your car could be connected at all times through your smartphone, without having to hit any additional buttons upon entering the vehicle.

BB10 is coming. It is going to provide an even better relationship between the PlayBook and your BB smartphone. Right now, they’re running two completely different OS’ and communicate beyond the capabilities of any other smartphones on the market. Imagine what will happen when they are running the same OS?