The Blackberry Playbook was frustrating to use in the most basic thing - the Home button.
I saw it for the first time on display at an Office Depot store. When I approached it, I opened an application, a web browser, and navigated to a few sites. Ok, standard stuff.
Then, I wanted to go back to the home screen, but for the life of me, for about 5 to 10 minutes, I had no idea how to do that. I looked all over for a home button that I could press. I tried to close the application; I tried to use different gestures, but I couldn't. There was no obvious button on top, in front, on the side, on the back. It was a moment of incredible frustration for 5 to 10 minutes.
Then, I looked at the front of the display. And at the bottom, was the Blackberry logo. Nothing about this logo screamed out "Touch me! I'm the Home Button", like the iPhone/iPad does.
Then through some miracle (or deductive reasoning, as there was no other button to press), I wondered if that was a touch sensitive button, or something. So I touched it. And lo and behold, it was. It was the home button. And it was camouflaged behind the Blackberry logo, as if someone new to the device was supposed to know it was the home button.
I was dumb-founded as I had wasted 5 to 10 minutes looking for it. And I was irritated that Blackberry would design something so non-intuitive.
So, in my irritation, I put the device down. And walked away. They had lost a potential customer forever.
I was interested in the Playbook as it was a cheaper device than the iPad, and Blackberry had a reputation of making solid phones. But those 5-10 minutes of frustration while I searched for the Home Button, was enough to send me running back to my "expensive" iPhone and iPad.
Blackberry must have failed to test the device with a completely new user. And that made me think, if they messed up on such a basic thing, then what else did they overlook. Turns out, they overlooked a lot of necessary things.
I'm still happy with my first generation iPad. It's a bit slower than my iPhone 4S, but it still can read my emails, browse my PDF eBooks, watch Netflix, and play Candy Crush.
And I'm waiting to hand $500 over to Apple again for their rumored iPad Mini with Retina screen. =)
Note: Admittedly, a touch sensitive home button is good, since it is not mechanical, and is less error prone to breaking. But I wish they had enclosed their Blackberry logo in a circle, or something, to make it appear like a home button.