RIM Announces BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet
As expected, Research in Motion (RIM) has announced its own iPad rival today: the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
It won't be called the BlackPad, as rumored , and that's not the only surprise. RIM announced an impressive, if not mind-blowing set of specs for the new tablet . That includes a dual core processor, running at 1GHz, and 1GB of RAM. It will also have excellent media capabilities, including full high definition video playback, Flash 10.1 compatibility, HTML5 support, front-facing 3-megapixel camera, rear-facing 5-megapixel camera, e-reader functionality and an HDMI port.
"RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry with cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO of Research In Motion, in a statement. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised Web browsing and high performance multimedia."
The media features, coupled with a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution on the 7-inch screen mean that the PlayBook tablet will appeal to general consumers, not just the business set. That has been RIM's strategy company-wide in recent years as other smartphones have replaced the BlackBerry in business circles and more consumers start using smartphones, too.
Another confirmed rumor is the new operating system by QNX . While it's new to the mobile and tablet world, the operating system built on the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture still appears sleek, serviceable and reminiscent of other popular mobile OSes. It actually looks like the newest version of the BlackBerry OS, but with influences from webOS such as multitasking.
RIM even touts the PlayBook as a gaming platform. The iPad proved that a tablet can be a lucrative gaming device, and RIM isn't the only company aiming for that consumer niche. The real competition between the tablets, however, will be in the app store. In that case, Apple still has an incredible head start over RIM.
RIM will need to have a large number of apps ready for the PlayBook at launch in order to make it appealing to the average user. It appears that the company is already headed in that direction because RIM has built-in features for developers, such as in-app payments, Adobe Air for app creation and a BlackBerry advertising service.
The PlayBook is still useful for business solutions, though. It syncs automatically with BlackBerry enterprise servers, and it plays well with BlackBerry phones, too. Surprisingly, the company has said nothing about the rumored 3G tethering to BlackBerry phones. The PlayBook only connects via Wi-Fi, and RIM said 3G and 4G models would be coming "in the future."
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is slated for release in early 2011, but there is no firm release date or price yet .