Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

Summary: RIM held a special media-only event in New York City on Thursday showing off the new BlackBerry PlayBook. Here's a hands-on look.

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RIM held a special media-only event in New York City on Thursday showing off the new BlackBerry PlayBook. Here's a hands-on look.

Nothing very new was revealed at the event, but it was a great opportunity to get a closer glance at a slate that is a bit out of the ordinary when compared to the slew of other tablets rolling out this spring.

[Image Gallery: BlackBerry PlayBook]

Dubbed as the "professional-grade" tablet, the PlayBook definitely fits in more as a business-friendly slate.

The BlackBerry PlayBook falls into the 7-inch tablet range along side the original Samsung Galaxy Tab. When I first held the device, it immediately reminded me of the feel of the HP Slate. That's mainly due to size and its professional-related apps, but the BlackBerry Tablet OS (which is partnered with Android) is much more graphic heavy.

However, one of the most outstanding features on the BlackBerry PlayBook is the video playback and the capacitive multi-touch display with its 1,024 x 600 resolution. It supports full HD 1080p video and a multitude of codecs thanks to the 1GB of RAM, a 1GHz processor and support for Adobe Flash 10.1. There are plenty of things to praise on the PlayBook, but it's questionable how useful it will be for non-BlackBerry owners - especially given the e-mail situation.

Check back tomorrow morning for an analysis on how well this might do in the consumer market!

    Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility

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    16 comments
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    • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

      Since it's such a critical need for so many people a native email App for Playbook should be out at launch.

      http://www.pepper.pk/early-bird/

      What's next?
      MobileAdmin
      • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

        @MobileAdmin <i>What's next?</i><br><br>How about a reasonable price for it being a 7" tablet?
        Badgered
        • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

          @Badgered

          What would be a reasonable price? There is a lot of hardware in the Playbook. The thought that size somehow means lesser value in technology is false.

          Double the memory of iPad
          HD cameras (front & back)
          Dual core CPU (iPad is downclocked to save battery)

          I have an iPad 1 and iPad 2 and it's too damn big for extended use and worthless when I'm on the go. I might as well bring a laptop.
          MobileAdmin
        • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

          @MobileAdmin <br><br>The problem being it is currently the iPad's market. You can't match the iPad on price to break into that market, you have to beat the iPad on price AND specs. And whether it matters to you or not most consumers will look at a smaller device that's listed at the same price and wonder why the heck they're being asked to pay a 10" price for a 7" device.<br><br><i>What would be a reasonable price?</i><br><br>Well since Asus is bringing a 10" Tablet with better specs than the iPad to market at $399.00.... I'd think this could be done for at most that price.<br><br><a href="http://www.tomsguide.com/us/EeePad-Transformer-Asus-Tablet-Keyboard-Dock-Price-Release-Date,news-10841.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.tomsguide.com/us/EeePad-Transformer-Asus-Tablet-Keyboard-Dock-Price-Release-Date,news-10841.html</a>
          Badgered
        • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

          @MobileAdmin [i]I have an iPad 1 and iPad 2 and it's too damn big for extended use and worthless when I'm on the go. I might as well bring a laptop.[/i]

          Second question... If it's that bad, why on earth did you get a second one? Hopefully, it was free.
          Badgered
    • Too damn big?

      Why did you buy two iPads, then.?

      Mmmmmm, RIMM plant, maybe?

      It will be interesting to see how this sells. No matter how many they do sell, though, RIMM will say it beat expectations, that's why they, just like Microsft with Zune and Kin, or HP with the failed Slate, won't tell the public what their hopes or expectations are.

      RIMM said 10's of 1000's of business users are interested, so if they sell 20,000 (a rounding error for Apple iPad) they'll find some way to spin it as a success.

      Or, like MS Zune, they'll stuff Amazons warehouse, and a year later say that they sold a million, that magical number that people think means success, even though MS must've been extremely disappointed that most of even that small number was consigned to Amazon's bargain basement bin.

      So what sales number would make the Playbook a success? Apple is predicted to sell what, 48 million iPads this year. If RIMM sells 1,000,000 in a calendar year that's only 2% of the market, is that a success? Some car companies have much less than that and are very successful. and they'll be about 100 tablets to choose from soon.

      So how to measure success? By how many sold? By percent of total markets are for similar tablets?

      And does it even matter? as long as people buy the item they want, the tablet market, like the automobile market might be big enough for a few players .
      ShazAmerica
    • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

      I'm confused, the article says 1024x600 display, yet it also says 1080p. I'm new to video and resolutions, please correct me if I'm wrong, isn't 1080p actually 1920x1080?
      dlancelot
      • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

        @dlancelot Yes it is. This isn't even 720p...

        What they mean is it can output to another device at 1080p...

        At issue here is does it have the chops to decode video at 1080p in real time? Clearly it does.

        However, is this actually very useful? No as a pure video feature it isn't very useful at all. I know we're all supposed to be connecting our tablets to honking big TVs to watch video - but really? I personally can't see it. 1080p video is HUGE (file size) this thing has Flash storage. Am I really going to fill it with video? Do I really want to transfer that much video to it? Over what? Wi-Fi? USB? I don't think so.
        jeremychappell
    • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

      How is it that the RIM Playbook supports 1080p if it's resolution is only 1,024x600. Isn't that WSVGA? Are they referring to the Playbook outputs 1080p to other devices?

      I can't understand how people knock the IPad but own one. If you don't like it give it away. I agree with Bagered when he said if you don't like the IPad why buy a second one. I'm sure if they were giving away tablets and MobileAdmin didn't own one he would be inline for a free IPad. Ridiculous.
      svtboy1999
    • All perks of the job

      I don't buy any of my tech gear. I'm a mobile administrator for a fortune 100 corporation so I get pretty much every mobile device that hits the market to evaluate.
      MobileAdmin
    • So you think specs are all that important

      Specs on paper don't mean much.<br>There's too many other factors of importance which often overpower mere specs.<br>Case in point... there's several tablets that boast a higher resolution screen than the iPad has. But... so far none of their screens actually look as good as the iPad's does. Don't believe me? Just hold them side-to-side and you'll easily see what I mean.<br><br>Several other specs offer similar results.<br>On my list of important features, specs is important but doesn't reach the top of the list.
      camcost@...
      • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

        @camcost@...

        You obviously haven't looked at the Color Nook. It may be just an e-reader but it is nothing to hack it into an Android tablet and the screen makes the Ipad look terrible.
        BoloMKXXVIII
        • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

          @BoloMKXXVIII <br>I keep hearing great things about the Nook color. It keeps getting raves. Now I hear that it has the best screen of any portable device ever made. I'm going to drive out of my way just so I can view this fantastic screen. I've read that there aren't any laptops with screens that even come close to it.<br><br>I usually take such statements with a grain of salt, but in a sense you've just confirmed what I've read. Now I have to see this wonder! Thanks.
          camcost@...
    • Really.. the email &quot;situation&quot;?

      Let's see you can use web based HTML5 Gmail that is optimized for the PlayBook's best in class web browser, right away. Basically the equal of Gmail on a desktop, maybe even better. Lol, are not most people using web-mail nowadays?

      Additionally there are already 3rd party email clients like Early Bird by Pepper.pk.

      Oh if you have a BlackBerry you much rather bridge to your phone anyway, which works now.

      And right after BlackBerry World RIM will be providing the native email client for standalone use (weeks away).

      So buying into the shaky premise that having a standalone email client is a main reason people buy tablets -- NOT media, not richer web browsing than a phone, not games... turns out it is not really going to stop anyone from using the PB to check their email, just fine, right now.

      The real truth is that is one of the few valid criticisms for such a powerful and portable device. Gotta find some reason to ding it.
      southlander
      • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

        @southlander Don't forget this is a MOBILE device, it isn't necessarily going to get a connection all the time. So using webmail is a bit of a pain...

        It also has no calendar app...
        jeremychappell
    • RE: Hands-on look: BlackBerry PlayBook (photos)

      I have one and it is a quality device. While the lack of a native email client is a bother, its other features make it well worth the wait until such a client is available. Been in IT for many years and this device is the most impressive yet. It is a real "Pro" device.<br><br>Halkaye
      hal@...