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RIM Ups The Ante With PlayBook vs iPad Video

David Gilbert

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RIM has been pretty vocal in bigging-up its soon-to-be released 7in PlayBook tablet and there seems to be no stopping head man Jim Balsillie from making bold statements these days.

Last week he announced the PlayBook would be competitively priced at under $500 and at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco today, Balsillie said RIM’s tablet would be “three to four times faster” than the iPad at browsing the web. An ole Jim didn’t just come to the party with big words, he also had a video to back up his claims.

In the video we can see the size difference between the two tablets with the iPad being significantly larger. However as we always say, size ain’t everthing and shortly after the start of the demonstration it appears clear that Balsillie’s claims could be backed up.

The video looked a number of different websites (though strangely not TrustedReviews) being rendered by both devices. The PlayBook seemed to handle the rendering a lot quicker and when it came to the issue of Flash compatability, the iPad was left standing. While the PlayBook displayed Adidas’s website in all its glory, the iPad showed an error message and a pretty plain looking website.

Balsillie went on to criticize Apple’s system of using apps to access online content saying: ““We believe that you can bring the mobile to the web-You don’t need to go through some kind of software development kit. That’s the core part of our message. You can use your existing development environment.”

The PlayBook was first unveiled at a live demonstration of the BlackBerry PlayBook last month at Adobe MAX. It is set to hit the shelves in the States in the first quarter of next year with the tablet going global by the end of the first half of 2011. Two weeks ago, Adobe unveiled the SDK for its Adobe AIR platform supporting the Blackberry Tablet OS. RIM is hoping that AIR’s cross platform appeal will persuade developers that otherwise might not look at Blackberry OS to code apps for the PlayBook.

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.

The video comparing the two devices is a very compelling argument for the PlayBook, though obviously web browsing is only one aspect of a tablet computer and we will have to wait and see what else it will bring to the party.

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