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Playbook: Maybe just right on target.

There have been a rush of negative reviews for RIM’s Playbook over the last few days.  It’s been called half-baked, rushed to market, unfinished, and worse.  I haven’t seen it yet, but in my opinion, Playbook might be just right.

What?

Yup.  You heard me.

No product team has ever produced a fully realized product on version 1.  It’s simply not possible.  Case in point: Apple’s version 1 iPhone was roundly panned as underpowered, with terrible battery life, poor reception, and no applications.  Recall that in the early days, Apple insisted that the only applications that you would ever need on iPhone could be written as web applications.  How wrong Apple was.  To its credit, Apple recognized the flaw, and pivoted quickly.

And how about the popular viewpoint that it takes Microsoft three tries to get a product right?  Well, it’s not just Microsoft, people – it’s everyone.

imageIt’s not until a product meets the market that a product team can begin to listen to customers and work on delivering the feature set that customers really want to buy.  It’s a so-called “virtuous cycle” of design, ship, refine.  The key is to ship the minimum necessary feature set, start listening to customers, and plan the next iteration of the product. That’s how great franchises are built.

We should all be delighted that the team at RIM have shipped their product.  Let’s cut them a little slack.  The hard work for them is just beginning, but at least they’re now in the game.

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