updated 05:35 pm EDT, Tue April 19, 2011
BlackBerry PlayBook gets iFixit dissection
RIM scored a minor victory on Tuesday after a teardown of the BlackBerry PlayBook by iFixit came down in its favor. The inaugural tablet's repair friendliness reached seven out of 10, higher than the iPad 2's four, for components that could be much more easily extracted. Despite the smaller and largely very thin design, the back cover, mid-plane construction, and individual components could all be swapped out easily if necessary.
Some elements were still seen as frustrating. RIM's frequent insistence on removable batteries as a plus wasn't evident as the lithium-ion pack was glued to the mid-plane. Elements like the cameras and headphone jack were also attached to each other and often meant replacing two or three connected devices at the same time if they broke.
The PlayBook was already known to be using TI's dual-core OMAP 4430 processor but was found to largely be steering clear of Apple components. SanDisk provides the 16GB-plus of flash storage, while TI provides the short-range wireless and STMicro handles camera processing. The iPad usually leans towards Apple's own processor as well as Samsung or Toshiba memory and Broadcom for wireless.
The design is a feat for RIM in being relatively thin for the size while still keeping accessibility that Apple and a handful of others have sometimes sacrificed. Battery life hasn't been as strong as promised for the techniques RIM has used, though, and gets about seven hours with non-stop video playback when an iPad 2 can manage 10.