Print 60 comment(s) - last by macthemechanic.. on Oct 2 at 10:39 PM

RIM will join Apple, Samsung with a fresh tablet

RIM's answer to the Apple iPad has been rumored for at least a few months, but the company made its new device official today. The 7" tablet is called the PlayBook and runs the BlackBerry Tablet OS which is based on QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis describes the device as "the first professional tablet".

The PlayBook features a 7” touch screen (1024x600), dual-core Cortex A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and will have both HDMI and USB ports. Unlike the Apple iPad, the 9.7mm-thick PlayBook will have both a front-facing and rear camera. The device can also playback both HTML5 and Adobe Flash content.

Naturally, the PlayBook supports 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. Although it won't be available at launch, RIM intends to release versions of the PlayBook with 3G and 4G functionality. 

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

Full specs for the PlayBook are as follows:

  • 7” LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor 
  • 1 GB RAM 
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording 
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA 
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n 
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable: 
    • Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
    • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)

More details are still slowly trickling in about the device, so you can watch a two-minute video here which previews the device's operating system. 

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By mkrech on 9/27/2010 5:43:05 PM , Rating: 2
What differentiates this from the iPad to make it "professional"?

RE: Professional?
By ppardee on 9/27/2010 6:11:21 PM , Rating: 5
Traditionally, Apple users are antiestablishmentarianists. They are not professionals, they are hippies and hipsters. That may have changed, but no 'real' business uses Apples. 'Professionals' are interested in function and value, not name brand, style or prestige, which is all the Apple brand has to offer.

Don't get hung up on the words... WWE is called 'professional wrestling'

RE: Professional?
By vol7ron on 9/27/2010 9:36:27 PM , Rating: 3
Perhaps more of a personal device for professionals (eg Wall Street Journals, unrestricted web, stocks, etc).

I'm curious about:
  1)   Battery life
  2)   If I can put a different OS on it (Droid/Win7)
  3)   If it has a GPS antenna

Otherwise, it has almost everything I want. I still want infrared transmitter to control my TV and I hope it's implementing Tegra II as opposed to just Cortex A9.

RE: Professional?
By quiksilvr on 9/28/2010 9:44:20 AM , Rating: 2
1) Probably less than the iPad given the dual Cortex A9 chips
2) No.
3) No.

RE: Professional?
By TheRequiem on 9/28/2010 12:22:19 PM , Rating: 3
Does anyone else think "Playbook" doesn't sound to Proessional... or is it just me?

RE: Professional?
By acase on 9/28/2010 1:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
It sounds more professional than using the wrong "to".

(Sorry just being a dick)

RE: Professional?
By TheRequiem on 9/28/2010 3:43:29 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you are... ;)

However, ever heard of a typo? I typed "too" fast and didn't proof read it, so move on.

RE: Professional?
By acase on 9/28/2010 4:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Well I had moved on from the "Proessional" typo already and then just thought the irony was kind of funny and had to make a comment. Moving along...

RE: Professional?
By nikon133 on 9/28/2010 4:38:05 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe it is for professional gamers..?

RE: Professional?
By vol7ron on 9/28/2010 8:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, studies show the dual chips require less power than single cores. The question is, do they require less power than Apples proc? The real debate is in the OS - software has a huge influence on power at these micro levels.

RE: Professional?
By Enoch2001 on 9/27/10, Rating: -1
RE: Professional?
By chick0n on 9/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Professional?
By Enoch2001 on 9/28/2010 11:54:30 AM , Rating: 1
Right. That's exactly why the dozen or so workstations in the production studio I work in are all Macs. And that's precisely why the television and film that has passed through our "unprofessional studio" are watched by audiences all across America every day of the week.

You're not only delusional, but clearly out of touch with reality.

Fanboys are irritating, but ill-informed fanboys who clench to untruths are downright depressing.

Move along...

RE: Professional?
By Kutcher on 9/28/2010 12:38:21 PM , Rating: 5
Why is it that any time any one mentions the business/professionnal world and Apple every fanboy jumps up and screams about the entertainement industry. Yes we are all aware that probably the vast majority of the entertainement industry uses Apple but in terms of the key professional industries of society, entertainement is pretty far down the list.

Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, Labs, Military, Government, etc. almost exlusively use PC. Yes, there are a few places were Apple devices are integrated but they're for specific tasks. So please will you fanboys understand that the entertainement industry is a small portion of the professional/business world that gets way more credit and attention than it should.

Macs are fun and easy to use, which is why I bought one for my wife, but I don't think I'll be doing any civil infrastructure design on a Mac any time soon.

RE: Professional?
By mkrech on 9/29/2010 1:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
but I don't think I'll be doing any civil infrastructure design on a Mac any time soon.

You may want to reconsider that expectation:

Expect the Mac client to be faster and less encumbered by the years of poor UX design that is typical in the current windows client.

RE: Professional?
By Enoch2001 on 9/28/10, Rating: 0
RE: Professional?
By cochy on 9/28/2010 8:45:44 PM , Rating: 2
Have you never been here before? This is DailyTech. If you say anything positive about Apple be ready to be down rated.

Personally, I used my iPad all day today while I was in meetings out of the office. Besides accessing my corporate email using Exchange ActiveSync push technology, I was quite able to create a Word document, email it and sync it to all my other devices using Dropbox and remotely access my office PC using LogMein.

I'm an IT professional. Thank goodness RIM is here to save me >.>

RE: Professional?
By mkrech on 9/29/2010 1:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
...and it appears that you are a successful IT professional as well.

Using tools available to maximize your productivity should not be limited by allowing popular generalizations to resrict your decisions.

Thanks for posting, it encourages me to know that intelligent unbiased IT professionals do exist.

RE: Professional?
By vol7ron on 9/28/2010 8:26:59 PM , Rating: 1
I think your statement had merit 5 years ago.

Artists/filmographers traditionally used Apple because it came with a lot of RAM and it used AMDs at a time when Intel was inferior (prior to the Core2 lineup - you remember those Pentium 4s).

AMDs were notably great with image editing, especially paired with Photoshop and 3D studios. However, that all started to change right around the time "The Lord of the Rings" (produced on Dells) came out, Hollywood started switching to non-Apple for professional business use. When the Core2 line came out, Apple dropped AMD and businesses had access to cheaper machines with the same processor (Intel) - big brands didn't offer AMD at the time. Hollywood stars still use[d] Apples for their personal machines.

"Professional" should not be taken literally, though. In the sense that people here are talking about, it is generally used to describe business professionals, which the majority use Microsoft Office and Windows.

RE: Professional?
By borismkv on 9/29/2010 12:45:28 PM , Rating: 2
Umm...Apple never used AMD processors. Prior to switching to Intel, they used processors developed by Motorola specifically for Apple, which, despite the bluster of Mac fanbois, were extremely slow in comparison to Intel and AMD's processors.

RE: Professional?
By vol7ron on 9/29/2010 11:22:17 PM , Rating: 1
Was it Motorolla? You're right, though, it wasn't AMD. I can't remember why I wrote that (maybe because of the ATI AGPs they used); still it wasn't AMD-ATI then.

I think they used some IBM procs for enterprise servers. I'll take your word for Motorolla, though. Regardless, I remember the performance tests of the time when it came to media compressions and performance (IntelPCs:shitty and Apple&AMDs:good).

Still Hollywood and apple were like fingers crossed, up until the early part of the millenium.

It doesn't apply, but something interesting:

AMD Athlon™ MP processor debuts: the company's first multiprocessing platform.
AMD HyperTransport™ technology is adopted by Agilent, Apple Computer, Broadcom, Cisco Systems, IBM, nVidia, Sun, and Texas Instruments.

RE: Professional?
By chrnochime on 9/28/2010 1:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
Tell that to those who are unfort...err I mean fortunately enough to use iphones as their only mean of business communication, simply because the upper management deemed it to be *better for work*.

RE: Professional?
By Tony Swash on 9/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: Professional?
By Gul Westfale on 9/27/2010 6:30:59 PM , Rating: 2
RIM's business services, and the distinct lack of 'suck'.

RE: Professional?
By chrish89 on 9/27/2010 6:53:01 PM , Rating: 3
RE: Professional?
By Zuul on 9/27/2010 6:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
BES integration and not having to use iTunes.

RE: Professional?
By psychmike on 9/27/2010 6:52:15 PM , Rating: 2
I really want BB to do well, if only to push Apple towards being less closed in its ecosystem.

When released, the iPad had many limitations that are only beginning to be addressed including: no file system; no ability to print wirelessly; no tethering; limited compatibility even with Apple Works; mandatory use of iTunes.

The iPad isn't a tool as much as it is a portal through which Apple would like you to rent everything but not own anything. Apple USED to be a company that espoused openness and creative freedom but they've drifted far from their roots.

RE: Professional?
By Samus on 9/27/2010 11:54:43 PM , Rating: 5
What differentiates this from the iPad to make it "professional"?

Well, for starters, a USB port ;)

RE: Professional?
By Reinman on 9/29/2010 12:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
If this has all the professional capability and can work as a GPS as well without paying subscription, i think this will kill those protable GPS. I'm still waiting for a device where you can use for internet, gaming, GPS and can install Microsoft Office. 7" touch screen is perfect for GPS and does support Flash.

By AliShawkat on 9/27/2010 5:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
looks sexier too

RE: software
By Netscorer on 9/27/2010 5:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
To be 'professional' it would need to support MS Office at the very least + multitude of Email clients and enterprise security software. Who the F cares about multimedia capabilities in 'professional' tablet.

RE: software
By tdawg on 9/27/2010 5:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it will have all the professional capabilities of a blackberry smartphone, so there should be built-in functionality, or apps, to handle office docs.

I'm intrigued by this device. I have an android phone and have no interest in a bigger android phone, aka android tablet; same goes for the ipad. With BB, H/Palm, and hopefully a version of WP7 for tablets hitting the market in the future, I'm keeping an eye on the tablet offerings.

RE: software
By AssBall on 9/27/2010 5:33:07 PM , Rating: 2
Uhm, I don't think they really mean for it to be professional, since, well, it is called a PLAYBOOK .

RE: software
By superPC on 9/27/2010 6:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
maybe it's like a sports playbook you know, equal part fun and business.

RE: software
By Gul Westfale on 9/27/2010 6:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
one interesting thing is that it does NOT use the blackberry phone OS, but its own dedicated tablet OS, built on QNX software.

this could mean that this device is indeed more of an entertainment machine than a business tool, as integration with BB business services would have been easier with a version of the phone OS.

i hope the price will be realistic, especially given the lack of 3G.

ah, we will see. patience, i guess.

RE: software
By Galcobar on 9/28/2010 5:37:55 AM , Rating: 2
RIM has previously stated that the need to maintain support for old code and older handsets within the Blackberry phone OS was a limiting factor. Given there would be no old tablets, they could start fresh with a tablet-specific OS and avoid the encumberance of old tech/software.

RE: software
By nafhan on 9/28/2010 7:35:36 AM , Rating: 2
Given that BB bought QNX in April... I wonder if migration to QNX is their long term OS plan? Maybe QNX is better at handling multicore processors or something. At the very least, it will make it easier to port Unix/Linux tools and applications to their system. I would think BB took the time to port their business tools over to the new OS, and - of course - their server side stuff won't need to change.
I think price could be competitive with the iPad (or lower) as long they are willing to forgo Apple-like profit margins.

RE: software
By Titanius on 9/28/2010 8:48:50 AM , Rating: 2
RIM purchased DataViz for a produces Word to Go, Sheet to Go, and Slideshow to Go. These apps on the BlackBerry are capable of letting you create/edit Word docs, Excel Spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. I'm guessing that suite of products (Docs to Go) will be present on the PlayBook. As for emails, the Push functionality and overall email management on BlackBerrys is unmatched. As for the multimedia aspect, I know a lot of companies that use/create/need multimedia capabilities, I work for one of those companies. How easy it will be to show presentations from the PlayBook by using the mini-HDMI connector to plug it to a projector or HDTV for multimedia/presentation purposes. I can see this thing replacing a laptop on business trips. And yes, I want one!

RE: software
By Tony Swash on 9/29/2010 6:39:48 AM , Rating: 1
To be 'professional' it would need to support MS Office at the very least

Two points to consider:

RIM recently bought DatViz and Documents to Go - ummm I wonder why :)

Worrying about Office compatibility is a rapidly waning consideration, the Windows/Office power nexus is fading fast. Neither will disappear but both will lose their power. MS may well be forced to release a version of Office that runs on iOS devices to stay in the game. If they don't they will simply accelerate their irrelevance.

By Gio6518 on 9/27/2010 5:03:35 PM , Rating: 5
The PlayBook features a 7” touch screen (1024x600), dual-core Cortex A9 processor, 1GB of RAM, and will have both HDMI (1080p support) and USB ports. Unlike the Apple iPad, the 9.7mm-thick PlayBook will have both a front-facing (3MP) and rear camera (5MP). The device can also playback both HTML5 and Adobe Flash content.

definetly has some intresting hardware

RE: Hardware
By maverick85wd on 9/27/2010 7:02:56 PM , Rating: 2
add 4G so I can use it anywhere and I've got the tablet I've been waiting 10 years for! :)and they'll only get better from here...

RE: Hardware
By XZerg on 9/28/2010 7:08:11 AM , Rating: 2
my only beef: 1024x600 seriously wtf?! it is so 1980s...

RE: Hardware
By nafhan on 9/28/2010 9:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but with a 7" screen, that's higher pixel density than the iPad. It's also better than my first gen EEE PC from 2007 :)

RE: Hardware
By infodan on 9/28/2010 10:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
same pixel density as a 1920x1080 resolution on a 15.6" screen.

You're right, how dare they give us something so nice.

RE: Hardware
By XZerg on 9/28/2010 12:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Agree that the pixel density is great but 1024x600 just doesn't cut it for most windows tasks imo. (PS: windows here not same to Windows, but is application windows). Just too much scrolling around or lot of functions will have to be cut out to fit such resolution.

By kmmatney on 9/27/2010 5:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'll admit that RIM was the last company that I thought would be making one of these. I can't see all these tablets selling well - they are still luxury items after all. I hope they have some sort of App store - otherwise they have no chance.

By tdawg on 9/27/2010 5:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
RIM/Blackberry already has an App Store called "Blackberry App World" or something like that. I don't think there's much on it, but at least the basis is there.

By jimbojimbo on 9/28/2010 10:15:23 AM , Rating: 2
The problem though is that this tablet will use a completely different OS than the BB. It seems like it'll have its own set of apps.

Product Name not BlackBook?
By BruceLeet on 9/27/2010 6:23:09 PM , Rating: 3
I honestly thought that when they came out with a tablet it would be called a Blackbook, because you know RIM is known in the corporate world and back in the day before all these electronic devices I'm sure businessmen & woman would be carrying a contact book. Often imagined as a little black book :P

Their first effort might be the 'average consumer' model which is aptly named 'PlayBook'

I wonder if this thing will support video conferencing right off the bat or include that in some sort of 'corporate version'. The ones that are coming out 'later' with 3G & 4G capabilities.

RE: Product Name not BlackBook?
By Gungel on 9/27/2010 7:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree the name PlayBook hardly communicates "professional". I think the word "professional" is in reference to the QNX Microkernel and it's compatible with the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. IMO the most professional tablet we have seen so far was the still born Microsoft Courier.

Time to failure is...
By siuol11 on 9/27/2010 5:51:49 PM , Rating: 2
So about how long before they start to price these out of their market? Netbooks took about 6 to 9 months. Anyone wanna bet?

RE: Time to failure is...
By Bateluer on 9/28/2010 6:59:49 AM , Rating: 2
Well, Samsung effectively shot out their own knee caps with the pricing for the Galaxy Tab. If RIM prices their product right, I can see it selling well. It seems to have the specifications to do well, easily outstripping every other device on the market right now. Its only weak point seems to be RIM's operating system. :P

No MicroSD slot?
By agent2099 on 9/27/2010 9:09:09 PM , Rating: 1
RIM should not have this omission.

RE: No MicroSD slot?
By raddude9 on 9/28/2010 8:14:27 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. But on the plus side it does have USB, and as long as you can plug in a memory card using a USB adapter I'd be satisfied.

It will do well.
By GruntboyX on 9/27/2010 6:51:27 PM , Rating: 2
Since the device supports many of the webs technologies, java, flash, html 5, ect.... I think it will do well. Once you have those technologies then why do you really need an app store? It has impressive specs, and it appears that blackberry is leading its best foot forward. I know it has my interest peaked over a ipad. Especially since it will support bluetooth tethering. Seems business friendly.

The triumph of UNIX
By Tony Swash on 9/29/2010 6:27:12 AM , Rating: 1
Although I think the Playbook will be a relative failure and do nothing to halt the iPad juggernaut it does bring attention to something more interesting which is the triumph of Unix.

Here is a very interesting article discussing the rise of unix and the cul-de-sac that Windows finds itself in.

Here is a a couple of quotes from the article

Now we’ve entered a new decade of devices where Unix(-like) operating systems will, on a CPU basis, probably out-install Windows. Not only is iOS based on Unix, but Android and MeeGo and even Bada are based on Linux as are QNX and WebOS. Google, Apple, HP, RIM, Samsung and Nokia are all now betting heavily on Unix or Unix-like implementations. The success is so overwhelming that there are really only two hold-outs: Microsoft and the rapidly depreciating Symbian.

For Unix, the point of modularity was reached early in the 1990's and, through the Linux implementation, it allowed the lowest layers of the software to become commoditized (and free). This commodity status was actually what Microsoft tried to avoid by integrating Windows with the layers above it. This was a conscious and deliberate decision which also led to trouble with anti-trust regulators. The decision seemed to have paid off. Microsoft won.

However, the very strategy which Microsoft used to maintain a monopoly caused its rigidity of response to a new, post-PC market. Unix fit right in with the new shift in the basis of competition: toward more personal, portable and conformable computing. Windows did not. Microsoft had to build a completely new OS to deal with devices (Windows CE has little if any shared code with Windows NT et. al.). The dual OS strategy continues to hobble Microsoft as each is stretched into new dimensions: the desktop Windows being dragged into the high end and into tablets while the device Windows is re-written to accommodate new input methods.

RE: The triumph of UNIX
By Tony Swash on 9/30/2010 8:41:57 AM , Rating: 1
I posted this comment on another forum at OS News.

There it provoked an interesting, sane and considered discussion about the role, rise and merits of Unix as an OS.

Contrast that to the situation here where there is no discussion about my comment about Unix which would be OK but for the fact that that the discussion is dominated by yet another series of infantile comments about Apple full of the usual fluff about "Apple users are all [fill in the blank with some name calling]".

Time to raise your game guys.

Missing data
By lawrance on 10/1/2010 5:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
Are pricing, availability and battery life too much to ask for for an "official announcement" or are they keeping these things a secret for a reason?

Silly RIM
By macthemechanic on 10/2/2010 10:39:23 PM , Rating: 2
Trying to be ALL Canadian. Let 'em. The only way to make a better iPad is to stop looking through the window at them and carry one for 6 months and use it every day. Then you'll understand. Until then, you just won't get it.

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