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RIM Announces Blackberry PlayBook Tablet

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RIM Announces Blackberry PlayBook Tablet

RIM has used its annual Blackberry Developer Conference to unveil a tablet computer. It will be called the Blackberry PlayBook, rather than the BlackPad as many had predicted.

The tablet will feature a 7in display with 1,024 x 600 resolution. As expected, it will run the QNX operating system from the company RIM purchased earlier this year, and it will multi-task from the off. It will be 9.7mm thick and weigh 400g, making it thinner and lighter than the iPad.

“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-chief executive at RIM. “The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia,” he said, in a statement.

RIM said that the PlayBook will offer ‘uncompromised browsing’, referring to the fact that it is Flash 10.1 ready. The browser is also HTML5 complaint and supports Adobe Mobile AIR.

Hardware wise, the PlayBook is powered by a 1GHz Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU with a whopping 1GB of RAM, there’s a camera 3-megapixel camera on the front and a 5-megapixel unit on the rear. RIM said it will play 1080p video in H.264, MPEG4, DivX and WMV formats and stream via DLNA – making it more of a multimedia powerhouse out of the box than the iPad.

It also features HDMI connectivity and USB. While there’s Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi there’s no integrated 3G – though 3G and 4G versions are touted for the future.

Interestingly, you’ll be able to mirror your Blackberry handset on the PlayBook via Bluetooth, so you can interact and edit your phone’s content more easily. Once the connection is broken all data is wiped.

With out-of the-box support for Blackberry Enterprise server, the PlayBook is likely to be very attractive to corporates who like the idea of tablets, but are very concerned with the security, and logistics involved in supporting then. RIM is no doubt hoping the PlayBook will fit right in to these markets, and at the same time keep the iPad and Android rivals at bay.

RIM said that the PlayBook will launch in the US in early 2011, but the rest of the world will have to wait until Q2, so we’ll have quite a wait to see it here in the UK. Developers however, can start to get to grips with the SDK soon, as RIM said this will be available in a matter of weeks.

Martin Daler

September 28, 2010, 10:50 am

"Play"book - not exactly a name with a corporate ring to it? Playstation, Playdough, Playsuit, PlayMobil, Playbook - sounds like it would be made by FisherPrice.

Stewart

September 28, 2010, 11:29 am

'4in thick'? Wrong units maybe?





Sounds like it will really taking the fight to the iPad, especially for corporates using Blackberry. All strength to RIM - the more competition, the better, espcially against such a tied down product such as the iPad.

rdsh

September 28, 2010, 11:34 am

For something that's aimed at the corporate market, I wonder why they called it the 'Play'...book?

John Wards

September 28, 2010, 12:25 pm

In America the word Playbook is a sporting term. It is where the coach keeps all the different strategies for his team.





It is a word that swaps into the business world in an informal way to describe business strategies.





Drop in stereo type images including Tom Cruise and Wall Street....





As for the device, it looks pretty good. If it can keep its price inline with the iPad or beat it then it should be a winner. Beats all my concerns with the iPad. Screen size/res, weight and full web support.

Jedibeeftrix

September 28, 2010, 12:54 pm

Now this is what i call a useful tablet, the dual-core A9 and 7" format are perfect.

BOFH UK

September 28, 2010, 1:03 pm

Hmmm... not sure about this one. On the one hand it's a nice idea and they are at least going after a different market sector. The hardware seems nice enough (although battery life and price will be interesting) and the UI seems interesting at the very least. But... is the business world really crying out for a 7 inch tablet? In a corporate environment would you rather issue one of these or a laptop because they're going to come in aroudn the same price. Executives may grab 'em as the usual shiny toys but I'm struggling to see what business benefits this will bring over a Windows 7 PC.





As for competing outside of the business world the real problem is that date. If they could deliver it now, or even before christmas, there's very little to trouble it and it'd have a good chance at taking second place behind the iPad. But Q1 / Q2 2011 is going to put it up against more Android tablets that are actually decent (unlike the current cheap rubbish), HP's Slate and, most worryingly of all for BB, the second generation iPad.





Fingers crossed it works, I'd like to see more competition in this space, but it doesn't look like a sure thing to me at the moment.

Kaurisol

September 28, 2010, 1:31 pm

@BOFH_UK - I can see uses for this for people that spend a lot of time in meetings or travelling, where they read a lot of documents etc. without needing to do much in the way of typing.





We already use a lot of tablets running various flavours of Windows for quite a few applications (including toughened tablets out in the field) where keyboards are not the principal means of input.





For one project I'm working on, we've already worked out that using tablets will save in excess of £1k / month in printing costs, with the additional cost of tablets over ordinary laptops being saved in 1-2 months.

Hamish Campbell

September 28, 2010, 2:33 pm

Awesome name for the american market.





I'd love everyone to have one, so we could drop printing out screeds of paper for every meeting....although a cheaper e-ink solution would probably solve this better.

john g

September 28, 2010, 2:36 pm

I agree with BOFH_UK's puzzlement regarding tablets and corporate use. It seems to me that tablets might be ideal for data consumers, but a poor solution for data producers. In other words, great for web browsing, surfing social websites etc., but far from ideal if you need to produce a lengthy business report. Once I'd thought about it in terms of either producing or consuming data, it seemed logical, to me at least, that tablets are for the consumers and netbooks are for the producers.





I suspect that an ideal set-up for business users might be a smart phone, a netbook, and a desktop PC in the office. For domestic users this might be a smart phone, a tablet, and a semi-portable large-screen (i.e. 17"+) laptop for the home.

lensmann

September 28, 2010, 3:47 pm

Well, folks who're higher up in the corporate foodchain usually don't produce voluminous reports - they have minions to do that for them. I'd assume Blackberry will be aiming for the sort of people on the move who're mostly going to be reading documents and marking them up with their comments rather than writing them.

Andy0d2

September 28, 2010, 5:05 pm

Two issues - Price and Its quite possible that by the time the playbook is here the ipad 2 will have landed.

Coffee_With_Bailey's

September 28, 2010, 8:09 pm

Task-switching looks like a close copy of the mechanism in WebOS - wonder if it's licensed, or whether lawsuits will follow?





I think there's some significant reason behind Apple steering clear of such a feature in iOS4 so far.

xbrumster

September 28, 2010, 10:12 pm

looks really nice. I wonder if the 7" factor will attract large proportion of business users. hate 1024x600, just hate it! no gps is also a bit disappointing, general consumer is left out at least i feel.





3g/4g connection must be vital for business on the go, yet all offices are equipped with wifi, bit of saving there. well done bb.





still would like to see what ipad2 brings.

Michael Atkinson

September 29, 2010, 12:39 am

Still looking for a tablet which can take and recognise a stylus so you can scribble on docs etc...

GoldenGuy

September 29, 2010, 1:13 am

@ John Wards





That connotation struck me instantly - not the childlike plaything everyone else seems to be latching onto. I really like the name.

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