The Door Cracks Open for the BlackBerry PlayBook


The BlackBerry PlayBook is suddenly in a much better position as a mobility platform than it was just a couple of weeks ago – thanks to the exit of a major competitor and the entrance of two new software partners.

Both Box.net and Evernote, two brand-name, cloud-based providers of storage and file management apps for all of the other major platforms, have now both stepped up to support the BlackBerry Playbook. Combined with the quick death of the rival HP TouchPad, this now sets up Research In Motion with the leading mobile alternative to the iPad or Android tablets.

Now, make no mistake: the BlackBerry PlayBook is a way distant alternative to the other platforms – but it’s still in the game and Box.net and Evernote are key proof points that important developers are actively engaging it.

A look at both Box.net’s app for the PlayBook as well as Evernote’s – which was just released last week – shows two apps that immediately make the 7-inch tablet tons more useful and productive. Until now, there were no solid, cloud-based apps to support data integration between the PlayBook, PCs, Macs, iPads, iPhones and Android devices. Until now, the PlayBook was a nice standalone device without seamless integration with other platorms.

Box.net – the cloud-base storage service – offers both individual and enterprise offerings and, on the PlayBook, is smooth, easy to navigate and very intuitive. The same could be said for Evernote, the cloud-based note-taking, storage and filing service that supports, text, audio, PDF and photo-based data. Both apps and their services are free for entry-level capacities, with the services scaling up to various paid offerings.

We’re all still waiting, though, for RIM to deliver on the promise of an Android Player for the BlackBerry PlayBook – a virtualization-based service that would allow the universe of Android apps to also work on the tablet. And we’re still waiting for Adobe to begin porting some of its Creative Suite software to the BlackBerry PlayBook, as that company promised earlier this year. If those apps become reality, The BlackBerry PlayBook will be a lot more than just a distant alternative to iPad and Android devices. If that happens, the PlayBook will be a player.