RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook

Yesterday at DevCon 2010, Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled a new "enterprise-ready" 7-inch touchscreen BlackBerry tablet called the PlayBook. Is this a serious business contender to Apple's iPad?

Yesterday at DevCon 2010, Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled a new "enterprise-ready" 7-inch touchscreen BlackBerry tablet called the PlayBook. Is this a serious business contender to Apple's iPad?

The PlayBook is interesting. First, RIM have packed a lot of power into a small shell.

  • A 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel touchscreen, which much smaller that the iPad's 9.7-inch screen, might be more suited to the BlackBerry-wielding suit.
  • Inside there's a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.
  • There's a 3 megapixel forward-facing camera and a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, both of which are high-definition.
  • Pulling all this together is the BlackBerry Tablet OS, developed by QNX. The OS offers true multitasking, as well as support for H.264, MPEG4 and WMV high-definition video. There's also full web browsing thanks to a WebKit-enabled browser. There's also support for Adobe Flash 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Java, OpenGL¬†and HTML5.
  • On the connectivity front there's 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth for those wanting to be wireless, and microUSB and microHDMI for those wired connections. The only downside is that 3G access is currently only available via a BlackBerry device.
  • There's tight integration with BlackBerry handsets.
  • Oh, and there's app ...

Without a doubt this is an enterprise-level bit of kit and while it has features that will appeal to consumers, I think that the price is likely to put it out of their reach. This is all about RIM locking up the BlackBerry users, and BlackBerry Enterprise Server customers into a BlackBerry tablet before they start thinking about migrating to different tablets (not necessarily the iPad since Apple's walled garden approach to app development won't sit well with enterprises looking to develop bespoke apps).

Availability is slated as early 2011.

How will it do? I think this is one of those wait and see situations.

So, what do you think? Is this a relevant device, or just an iPad for folks in suits? How will its relevance be affected by the release of Windows-based tablets?

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