RIM unveils BlackBerry PlayBook

BlackBerry tablet device focuses on enterprise and high end consumers

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RIM unveils BlackBerry PlayBook Research in Motion has launched its BlackBerry PlayBook, aimed at enterprise and high end users
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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 28, 2010

Research in Motion (RIM) has unveiled its new tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

The device, which has been touted as an enterprise rival to Apple’s iPad, was revealed at the BlackBerry DEVCON 2010 yesterday.

RIM says that the PlayBook is aimed at the corporate and high end consumer, with out-of-the-box enterprise support, and providing a full web experience on a mobile device.

The PlayBook weighs 400g, with dimensions of 130mm x 193mm x 10mm, with a 7 inch high resolution capacitive touchscreen. The device is powered by an ARM 1GHz dual-core processor, with 1GB of RAM, and runs the new BlackBerry Tablet OS, which was also launched at DEVCON.

For BlackBerry smartphone users, the PlayBook can be connected to a smartphone with the built in 2.1 Bluetooth, to view email, BBM, calendar, tasks, documents and other content that resides on, or is accessible through, the smartphone, although the data is only temporarily cached on the PlayBook for added security.

For video conferencing and recording, the PlayBook includes two HD cameras, one 3 MP front facing and one 5 MP rear facing, which can record HD simultaneously, with support for 1080p HD video recording, and an HDMI out port for showing HD content on external displays, along with stereo sound and a media player. The device will also include support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR and HTML-5.

The Playbook has Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n connection, although no 3G, with 3G and 4G models planned in future.

“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 at Research In Motion. “The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia.”

The new BlackBerry Tablet OS is built upon the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture, one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures available, and with support for industry standard tools for ease of development.

The OS is fully POSIX compliant enabling easy portability of C-based code, supports Open GL for 2D and 3D graphics intensive applications like gaming, and will run applications built in Adobe Mobile AIR as well as the new BlackBerry WebWorks app platform so applications can be written for both PlayBook and smartphones. The BlackBerry Tablet OS will also support Java enabling developers to easily bring their existing BlackBerry 6 Java applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment.

Industry analysts responded favorably to the PlayBook, particularly its enterprise credentials, but felt that it might still struggle to go beyond enterprise customers.

Tim Renowden, Ovum analyst commented: “The BlackBerry PlayBook certainly looks like a strong contender against Apple’s iPad, at least amongst RIM’s core enterprise customers.

“The PlayBook’s big advantage over the iPad for enterprise customers is that many businesses already have BlackBerry smartphones deployed, and are using the BlackBerry Enterprise Server product to manage their connectivity. Enterprise IT managers understand the security and device management advantages that BlackBerry has over Apple, and RIM will maintain these advantages with the PlayBook, which is fully compatible with existing BlackBerry services,” he added.

“The danger for RIM is that Apple already has a big head start in the tablet market, and the buzz around its apps and ‘cool factor’ is significant. Many business users will want to bring their own iPads into the work environment, so this is going to be a long and hard fought battle for RIM, but an important one as mobile devices become an increasingly important part of doing business,” Renowden said.

The PlayBook is set to be available in the US early in 2011, and in other markets Q2 2011.

2533 days ago
Malcom Reynolds

Thanks for this post. I am excited to see the playbook come out. I am pleased that they are stepping up their game (pardon the pun) and producing the playbook. I will use it frequently. http://www.bblackpad.com

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