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RIM launches the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

by Scott Bicheno on 28 September 2010, 09:58


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BlackBerry maker RIM joined the tablet party at its DEVCON developer conference yesterday with the launch of the Playbook. In apparent contradiction of the name, it's being marketed as a professional-grade product.

The main reason for this seems to be the spec. It has a dual-core, 1GHz SoC. We haven't been able to find out who makes it yet, but Marvell is generally RIM's preferred chip partner. Other key bits of spec include 1GB memory, dual cameras, 802.11n Wi-Fi and weighs 400g. However there's no 3G connectivity, leaving only the option of tethering with a BlackBerry phone vie Bluetooth.

But more important than any of the hardware spec is the OS. This is a specially designed one called, appropriately, BlackBerry Tablet OS. It's based on the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture, which RIM got its hands on when it acquired QNX back in April. This is an embedded OS that has been used in the field for some time, so should be pretty solid. It supports full multitasking and Flash 10.1.

"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 Mike Lazaridis, RIM president. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia."

Here's the spec list, a piccie and a vid. The PlayBook will launch in the US in Q1 next year and the rest of the world starting Q2.

  • 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
  • Measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future