That is the question that has many analysts wondering if the BlackBerry PlayBook will draw the non BlackBerry crowds as much as the current BlackBerry userbase. RIM has clearly stated that the PlayBook when shipped would not have any of the basic PIM features that made the BlackBerry solution a market leader. It will only have access to email, contacts, calendar, BBM, and other PIM data through the BlackBerry bridge and only if they have a BlackBerry.
On the other hand Ryan Bidan, Senior Project Manager at RIM, seems to think that “On its own, this is a great standalone tablet.” I am not sure I agree but only time will tell. I think there will be a HUGE goldrush at start for somebody to come up with a full ActiveSync client for the PlayBook like the current AstraSync solution for BlackBerry. A full IMAP client would also be nice. Hopefully developers will all team together to recreate what RIM has decided is not important.
Here is my dream for the PlayBook. A third party email client that syncs with Google Apps/Gmail over IMAP or ActiveSync with contact sync and calendar sync using Google’s API. It is really mind blowing to see that RIM has left one of the main features off the PlayBook when email is what made RIM king but I realize they have done that due to the lack of an IT policy on the PlayBook. On the other hand they could have easily said that they would not offer BES email on the PlayBook while allowing BIS which is anyways has no IT policies. Any other explanation really does not make sense because how long could it possibly take to write a email client? I cannot believe they got 1080p playing real time multitasking yet cannot figure out how to write a simple email client.
So any developers up for filling in this gap at launch? Its like RIM is waving a big paycheck in front of your faces telling you they will only have native PIM later in the game. Maybe if you do it better than RIM they will simply acquire you. I am not sure how great this will look for RIM if the best selling app on the PlayBook is an email client…