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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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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.


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