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RIM Throws a PlayBook Party, But the PlayBook's an Afterthought

A stage hand performs a sound check before a performance by a cast member of the Broadway show "Spiderman" at the Blackberry PlayBook Experience in Chelsea Market, New York on July 17, 2012.

A stage hand performs a sound check before a performance by a cast member of the Broadway show "Spiderman" at the Blackberry PlayBook Experience in Chelsea Market, New York on July 17, 2012. Photograph by Michael Kamber for Businessweek.com

On my way to a promotional event thrown by Research In Motion at Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, I stopped for a late lunch. With veggie wrap in hand, I sat at a long table near a young man who looked to be in his mid-20s. He was wearing a black Polo shirt bearing a white BlackBerry emblem—and was slouched over an iPhone. (Full disclosure: He did at one point pull out a BlackBerry for about three seconds.)

I asked if he was working at “Meet the PlayBook,” a two-week long extravaganza aimed at familiarizing potential customers with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. He replied, “Yes. You should come check it out. There’s going to be free drinks and fried chicken.”