Research in Motion made a big announcement at the BlackBerry Developer Conference today by introducing a new 7-inch tablet called the BlackBerry PlayBook. The company plans to use a new tablet OS based on QNX to power the platform, unlike their other products which use BlackBerry OS. Not much details were talked about, but it does seem to be targeted at Business users, a market which RIM maintains a firm grasp of.
They did announce some specs and spoke of some of it’s abilities as a tablet device. The BlackBerry PlayBook is powered by a dual core Cortex A9, and features two cameras (one for each side). The rear camera is 5 megapixel, while the front is 3 megapixel, and both can be used for video conferencing. The screen size is 7 inches, with a capacitive multitouch screen at a resolution of 1024×600. There is no official specs on how much storage it will carry, but many suspect it will be offered in both 16GB and 32GB flavors. Only Wi-Fi models will be available at first, with plans to release 3G and 4G versions in the future. All of this in a 0.4 inch thin, 400 gram, 7 inch tablet.
So what can it do with all this power? They briefly mentioned it’s ability to play Adobe Flash content, and how it would be an incredibly powerful gaming platform for developers. It can also provide 1080p video output through HDMI, so it would work great hooked up to an HDTV. The OS seems to feature some form of multitasking not unlike the WebOS “card” system. Some of the obvious built in applications are BlackBerry Messenger, and an HTML5 based web browser. Of course the usual Music, Photos, and Videos players are also present. RIM apparently wants to focus on social networking and gaming as well on the PlayBook.
No pricing or firm release date has been mentioned, but the BlackBerry PlayBook should launch in early 2011 according to RIM. With no pricing announced and so little details, it is hard to tell how well it could do against other tablets. Over the past few months the battle of the tablet market has really heated up. Recently Samsung announced their tablet called the Galaxy Tab, which is based on Android OS. Details on pricing and a US release date (though expected by the end of the year) for that tablet are also mysteriously missing. With more tablets on the horizon, it’s hard to not think about what Apple has planned for the iPad next year. It is about to get very interesting for people who are looking for a new tablet device. The choices between the BlackBerry PlayBook, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the Apple iPad, and many others, the competition is really going to get crazy soon here.