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PlayBook proves CrackBerry brand still strong

Research In Motion's iPad-alike PlayBook hasn't even been released yet and already it's proving a hit with corporate types drawn by their addiction to the CrackBerry branding.

Bloomberg is reporting that businesses are lining up to get their hands on the device, with insurance outfit Sun Life Financial having already ordered a thousand units and the Canadian arm of banking group ING Groep NV also putting in an order for an unknown quantity.

The biggest draw, aside from the BlackBerry branding that seems to still have a hold on business types, is said to be the PlayBook's support for end-to-end encryption, keeping corporate secrets secret even when the device itself goes off the premises.

Despite the upswell of interest, RIM has a long way to go to challenge Apple's iPad. A recent video of the comparative performance of the two devices may have come out in favour of the PlayBook, but Apple still enjoys a 95 per cent share of the tablet market - and reported last month that around 65 Fortune 100 companies are in the process of either testing or deploying the iPad in their businesses.

There are certainly things to recommend the PlayBook over the iPad: its more powerful internals, real-time operating system, HDMI output, and integral encryption options make it a tempting buy, but the company is going to have to draw developers to the QNX-based platform if it wants to enjoy the benefits of an app ecosystem that can compete with Apple's gigantic App Store.