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BlackBerry PlayBook teardown shows easier fixes than iPad 2

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.

By Electronista Staff


  1. tsmelker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006


    Yeah, right...

    What a victory. So the Playbook is a cheaper, easier to tear apart design. How is this a 'victory' in any sense of the word? More difficult to take apart doesn't mean crappier design- in fact I believe it's quite the opposite. I've never read or heard any review of the iPad that ever complained about how difficult it is to take the thing apart. When you buy a Mercedes, you don't plan to spend your time tinkering with it or "supeing" it up...

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    Maybe RIM customers expect to be their own repair

    So RIM made it easy to repair so that customers can replace parts themselves??? How is this relevant to the consumer? What consumer buys a product because it's easy to fix? How about just make it more reliable?

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Hardware is easy

    It's the software side that is a) hard, b) RIM is incapable of doing well.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Onceler

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2006


    Good for them

    This is actually not a bad thing. If RIM (or any other iPad competitor) gets kudos for making their tablets easier to fix, then perhaps it might nudge Apple to make iPads a little easier to fix. In the end, that is good for everyone.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009



    Is it Magical?

    - Sent from my Android Device.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    There really isn't much to "break" in a tablet,

    is there? A circuit board, a battery and a few switches shouldn't need much in the way of maintenance. Besides, if your iPad gets damaged, you should just take it back to Apple. I'm surprised that most people don't get AppleCare for mobile devices since there's increased risk in getting the device damaged by moving it around so much. An iPad would only get damaged if it's dropped and then Apple would just exchange it. I wouldn't figure there'd be much "fixing" going on with an iPad. I'm sure there aren't that many consumers that want to tinker with a device like that.

  1. Foe Hammer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2005


    @ Wraunchy ...

    - Sent from my Android Device.

    I'll take Unspecific BS for $200, Alex.

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011


    How soon we forget

    Remember way back when Apple touted the design of its PowerMacs as being user serviceable, requiring no tools to access RAM slots, hard drives, and expansion slots? Then came along the G5s and MacPros, which furthered this innovation by allowing for swapping of hard drives without needing to unscrew the drive from the housing? The fanboys all raved about the ease of which they were able to upgrade and derided PC makers for making it difficult to upgrade their hardware.

    My how times have changed!

    Nowadays, you deride a company that makes it easy to get inside and applaud a company once known for openness for creating a closed hardware and software ecosystem which requires a trip to an Apple Store for something as simple as a battery installation.

    Hypocrites....all of you!!!!

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    @ facebook_Timothy

    You're a moron. Having easily accessible internals on a desktop computer is certainly an important feature. But on a tablet, what are you going to add, upgrade, or replace? The CPU? Hard drive? Video card? What?!?


  1. tsmelker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2006


    Riiiiiight, FB_Tim...

    and because we're hypocrites, that's why Acer, RIM, Samsung and all the other wanna-be's are outselling Apple hand-over-fist. Oh, wait-- that's only in your fever-dream. You can go back to cursing Apple's user base while to try to wring some functionality out of your imaginary Xoom...

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