One of the biggest criticisms of RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook so far is the tablet’s need to be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone in order to perform certain functions. Specifically, the PlayBook must be connected wirelessly to a BlackBerry smartphone in order to access PIM-related functions such as calendar, contacts and memos. The tablet also won’t be able to send or receive corporate email using its native email application without being tethered to a BlackBerry phone. “On its own, this is a great standalone tablet,” RIM’s senior product manager in charge of the PlayBook Ryan Bidan told Forbes in an interview. “This is not a device that is reliant on a BlackBerry.” Biden goes on to say that the PlayBook is a solid tablet “in its own right” and that it extends both the mobile and laptop experiences for users. Unfortunately, Biden fails to address critics’ complaints specifically, saying only that PIM functions indepenent of a tethered BlackBerry smartphone “will come as the platform evolves.” BGR went hands-on with the BlackBerry PlayBook in December and we previewed it on video again at CES earlier this month.