RIM Says PlayBook Tablet is Great Without a BlackBerry, But…

Palm’s failed Foleo was a netbook-like device based on Linux that had some on board functionality but depended on a Palm smartphone for network connectivity and could not run Palm OS applications. Personally, I thought the concept which predated netbooks was a good idea but that the Foleo was priced too high at $600. We don’t know how poorly or well it would have done since it was never launched.

Does this all similar to RIM’s PlayBook tablet strategy? PlayBook is based on QNX which is a real-time UNIX variant, does not directly run BlackBerry OS apps (although it appears an emulator will be available), has some onboard functionality but depends on a RIM BlackBerry for PIM (Personal Information Management) features like (no contacts, calendar, or memos without a connected BlackBerry). The PlayBook cannot access corporate email from a native app without a BlackBerry (it can access email using a web browser).

There is one big difference between the Foleo and PlayBook, however. The Foleo was panned right out of the gate. The PlayBook, on the other hand, seems to be getting reasonably good reviews. RIM is doing its part to convince potential customers that the PlayBook’s tethered functions are not a show stopper.

RIM: BlackBerry PlayBook Is Great Even Without A BlackBerry (Forbes)

This configuration seems best suited for businesses that already issue BlackBerry phones to its staff. However, the PlayBook appears designed to appeal to the consumer market. Can this apparently split strategy work?