RIM Responds to PlayBook Battery Life Claims

RIM says the PlayBook's battery is doing just fine.

Earlier this week, Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu said that his sources indicate that Research In Motion’s upcoming PlayBook tablet only has a “few hours” of battery life. He then compared that presumably three hour estimate to the iPad’s ten hours and the Galaxy Tab’s six hours. Battery life is essential for tablets—almost as important as the whole portability aspect of them—and RIM found it necessary to respond.

Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented,” said the company in a statement.

Alright, but Wu’s unnamed sources could very well have come from inside of RIM. Besides, even if the battery life is doubled by the implementation of better power management, that still only leaves it at six hours. The iPad gets ten plus hours and the Galaxy Tab, being the first of the Android tablets hitting the market is definitely not something RIM should aspire to.

While Wu might have been fed inaccurate information by his sources, RIM’s response does not bode well for the company’s prospects. How far along exactly is the battery management in the PlayBook? RIM has purchased two companies this year just to build the operating system for the PlayBook—The Astonishing Tribe and QNX Software Systems.

TAT is presumably building the graphical user interface and QNX has the job of making the actual operating system for the tablet. Building a completely new mobile operating system strong enough to compete against Google’s upcoming Android ‘Honeycomb’ OS and Apple’s iPad 2 (which might hit the market before the PlayBook I should add) is hard enough. Building it while not killing the battery is even harder.

I have faith that RIM knows battery optimization. However, QNX has only previously built stuff for systems that either remained plugged into the power grid or generate their own electricity. TAT just builds user interfaces. Can the BlackBerry OS programmers implement their knowhow into this hodgepodge of different technologies in time for a timely PlayBook launch? That’s the big question.

Let me know what you think. RIM’s response lends me to believe that it is just starting to optimize the PlayBook’s battery life. Does it have enough time?

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