As far as tablets go, not many of them have been designed to be an out-right extension of a smaller device, like a smartphone. Many manufacturers have brought them to market to stand as their own device, unhindered by the necessity of being tethered to another device to have primary functions. For the BlackBerry PlayBook, the first tablet device from Research In Motion (RIM), one of the major complaints about the device is the requirement that it be connected to a BlackBerry smartphone for some features to function.
RIM designed the PlayBook so that some PIM-related features, like the use of the Calendar, Contacts, and Memos applications can't be done without being tethered to a BlackBerry device in one fashion or another. Whether it be wired or wireless. It's taken further by the fact that the PlayBook won't be able to send corporate email from the native email application on the tablet device without being connected to a BlackBerry smartphone either.
Despite these things that some may call a glaring issue, RIM's Senior Product Manager in charge of the PlayBook, Ryan Bidan, says that the tablet "is a great standalone tablet." He goes on to add that "this is not a device that's reliant on a BlackBerry." However, what Bidan does not say, is anything about the specific complaints from potential customers regarding the PIM-related features, and the necessity to be connected to a BlackBerry smartphone to access them. Instead, Bidan takes a broad approach, and teases that having PIM functions without needing to be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone "will come as the platform evolves." No date provided, but at least it's coming eventually.
We got some hands-on time with the device at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, so check out the video below, and head through this link to read what we thought of the initial preview.