Nestled in an out-of-the way storefront in Chelsea stands – for two weeks – what was intended to be a mecca for New York technology fans. The northeast corner of 10th Avenue and 15th Street, in an area more known for its art enthusiasts than its digital diehards, has been housing the BlackBerry PlayBook Experience Center since July 10 and will continue to do so until the 23rd. And if you’re interested in seeing what, exactly, the PlayBook has to offer, there’s no better place for you to go and find out.
Perhaps in recognition of the neighborhood in which it stands, the PlayBook Experience Center has things to offer other than simply tablet education. As the schedule of events indicates, the Experience Center is a place to experience more than just the PlayBook – various insiders from music, yoga, fashion and other industries have been (and will be) making their way down to the PlayBook Experienence Center over the two weeks to showcase their skills. (And perhaps more importantly to some of the attendees, when I was there there were also free alcoholic beverages given to those who came into the Experience Center.)
But the real star of the show was the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Though diminutive in size (it has a 7″ LCD display, much less than the iPad’s 9.7″), the PlayBook has significant power which the BlackBerry techies were more than happy to show off to all the drop-ins. The nice-sized room had around 15 PlayBooks sitting there available for sampling. In an attempt to figure out what really makes the PlayBook noteworthy, I spoke to a few of the BlackBerry attendants to try to get different opinions on what features make their product truly shine.
In one corner of the Experience Center they were selling BlackBerry merchandise. There was also a promotion giving away free accessories to people who purchased PlayBooks there. (The deal sounded good, but I didn’t investigate too much – I was focused more on features than on freebies.)
All told, the BlackBerry PlayBook Experience Center seemed like a hit. Its primary purpose, as a place for potential customers to learn about the Playbook tablet, was certainly accomplished. In addition, they also managed to raise the total number of entrants by branching out and featuring DJs, authors and the ever-alluring alcohol. Though Chelsea is hardly the world of high tech, for two weeks one storefront on the corner of 10th and 15th does its best to right that wrong.