RIM Releases BlackBerry “PlayBook” Tablet for Men in Suits

Research in Motion has just announced their contender into the tablet arena, dubbed the “PlayBook“. At this point, the specs are more impressive than the iPad’s in many areas – although it is not due to be released until early 2011, so Apple still has time to strike back. RIM seems to be pinning this tablet to the same executive market as their cell phones, as it features full BlackBerry enterprise integration and supports a wide array of connection standards (unlike the iPads proprietary dock connector), so it should be simple to plug directly into that projector to show off pie graphs and upward-sloping lines. In fact, RIM calls it the first “Professional Tablet”, so it’s clear that they are not going after Apple’s primary user-base.

Most notably, the device features dual HD cameras, which can record in 1080p, a full gigabyte of RAM (thats 4x more than the iPad), and a dual core processor (2x more than the iPad, for those of you majorly bad with numbers). That should allow for some serious multitasking and gives it enough oomph for 1080p video playback. Another step-up over the iPad is Flash support, but since no one has been able to get their hands on it, it’s unknown how well it will preform.

The operating system’s user interface looks quite nice in the product demo video (a welcome change from the 90s-era UI on BlackBerry OS). If it lives up to RIM’s promises, the PlayBook should be decent competition for the iPad, especially in the workplace.

It’s also surprising how much smaller it is than the iPad, which could be good or bad – depending on your stance on the matter. For a visual comparison, check out Engadget’s gallery.

Read on for the full spec sheet, courtesy of Playbook Fans.

  • 7inch 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)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
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