Analysts may have located the future BlackBerry tablet’s weak spot: battery life. According to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu, the BlackBerry PlayBook currently in the works at Research in Motion suffers from a battery lifespan that can’t compete with the tablets it’s designed to take down, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Apple iPad.
According to All Things D, Wu’s sources have told him that the PlayBook currently only lasts “a few hours” per charge. For comparison, the Galaxy Tab lasts about six hours, and the iPad has significantly more screen space yet churns out more than 10 hours under moderate use.
This is likely due to the nature of the operating system the PlayBook uses, called QNX. QNX was designed for other systems that are perpetually plugged in, like network equipment or interfaces in cars, and isn’t optimized for maximum performance on a minimal power source.
Wu speculates that the PlayBook’s release date was pushed back to May 2011 to cope with this issue, though there are a limited number of fixes. A larger battery could help, but with space and weight at a premium in tablets, it’s not a very elegant fix.
Under RIM-controlled conditions, the PlayBook appeared to perform admirably against the iPad; it’s too bad that this performance might come at such a battery life tax.