A few days ago there was a splash in the press which wrote off RIM's forthcoming tablet claiming that it would eat up a lot of battery.
The reports were based on comments from Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu who quoted unnamed sources saying the PlayBook's battery lasts "a few hours" compared with six hours for Samsung's Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for Apple's iPad.
Wu is quite close to Apple's supply chain and has been very good on his predictions about things Applish. Although he refused to say where he got his evidence from, assuming that he was not talking out of his bottom, he can only have talked to someone who actually has tested one of the prototypes.
But his comments about Jobs' rival company's product were seized by the tame Apple press® as proof that the Blackberry PlayBook tablet was doomed.
The implication of most of the articles was that the PlayBook, with its use of a full operating system would need to be almost permanently plugged into the mains. At last they had a reason to write off the PlayBook even before they reviewed it. They did so with a venom which they did not give Apple's iPad which they hyped to Kingdom come and still do so.
However, Research In Motion issued a statement today saying that claim was total pants. It said that power management will be comparable with the Android and iPad.
To give the Wu the benefit of the doubt, RIM pointed out that any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. In other words the beta units don't have the power saving software on board yet.
If there is such a thing as a tame Apple press® we can expect it to be working overtime to fling as much mud at the PlayBook as possible.
RIM still has control of the business market and this is the area that Apple is desperate to flog its iPads in. If RIM comes up with a tablet chances are it will be more network friendly and a lot more secure than the iPad. RIM can also use its established smartphone base to flog the gear.
However if word can be put out that the PlayBook is not truly portable then its business use is limited. The fact that businesses still have to wait to see RIM's machine in action is an advantage for enough mud to stick before the launch. Already a Google search about the Playbook is all complaining about battery life, based on Wu's remark. We wonder what "negative hype" will be generated between now and the first reviews.
A business IT manager comparing tablets will often look at back news stories to see what the pros and cons are. In this case, it looks like tame Apple Press will make sure that it looks like a pile of poo.