RIM Announces Playbook Tablet Device

RIM sure has been in the news a lot lately; it sounds like they’re giving the established leaders in the portable computing market a real run for their money …

Newest rival to Apple’s iPad gets regal launch in San Francisco, but won’t be on general sale until next year

Nine months since the launch of the Apple iPad, 25 days following Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, BlackBerry-manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) has revealed details of its tablet computer, dubbed Playbook.

The announcement of RIM’s eagerly-anticipated assault on the tablet computer market was as elegant as its enterprise-led handsets. It will not rush the Playbook out in time for the festive season and those likely to get the most from their new tablet device will be those that already own a BlackBerry, it seems.

Without further ado, the specifications:

• 7in touchscreen (same as Samsung Galaxy Tab, 2.7in smaller than Apple iPad)
• BlackBerry Tablet OS built on architecture by recently-acquired QNX
• 1 GHz dual-core processor
• 1 GB RAM
• HD video playback
• HDMI video outputJuly 7 2008:
• Bluetooth 2.1
• MicroHDMI and microUSB ports
• Support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1
• Dimensions: 5.1?x7.6?x0.4?
• Weight: 400g (Apple iPad: 680-730g; Samsung Galaxy Tab: 380g)
• Able to connect to BlackBerry Enterprise Servers
• Pairing with BlackBerry handsets
• Ability to connect to 3G network on existing BlackBerry data plan

Remarkably similar to the details leaked in previous weeks, don’t you think? (Minus the moniker, of course. Which leaves the more interesting question: what happens to the BlackPad and SurfBook domain registrations?)

Playbook will be shipped to developers and enterprise customers from October, and will go on general sale early next year. No price was announced for the device, but it is thought that it will sit towards the more-affordable end of the scale to Apple’s iPad.

Opening RIM’s annual BlackBerry Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, company president Mike Lazaridis said the curiously-titled Playbook “is the world’s first professional tablet”, adding:

“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.

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

• Separately, RIM also launched a free analytics service that provides application developers with data on how, when and where customers are using their apps. Alan Brenner, senior vice president of the BlackBerry platform, said: “We are enabling developers to better monetise their services and drive deeper engagement to create richer, more interesting social apps for BlackBerry.”

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