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RIM unveils BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to challenge iPad

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Mon September 27, 2010

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook takes on iPad

RIM today unveiled the PlayBook, its first shot at the tablet space. The PlayBook has a seven-inch, multi-touch display and is just 9.7mm thick. It's designed as a high-powered browsing device with both a WebKit browser as well as Flash 10.1 and AIR support. The slate is billed as a media-heavy device with full 1080p video output over HDMI -- including entirely different content on each screen -- and has both three- and five-megapixel cameras on both the front and back.

Performance stems from a 1GHz, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of RAM. The device is running a new QNX-based operating system with full multitasking, symmetric multi-core processing and a very stable but also low-footprint platform. The PlayBook still taps into BlackBerry Enterprise Servers for e-mail and should be as secure. Gaming is much more important on the platform and will include OpenGL video that can even drive hardware Flash acceleration.

It will so far get online only with 802.11n Wi-Fi; it can connect to a BlackBerry over Bluetooth for 3G and sync. Versions with built-in 3G and 4G should come later.

RIM doesn't expect to ship the PlayBook until early 2011 in the US and spring in other countries.

The PlayBook confirms late rumors and sets up a more direct confrontation between Apple and RIM in the tablet space. The iPad's early lead has given it an unexpected presence in business and has carried the risk of locking RIM out of tablets before it could get involved. With a 2011 launch, however, the PlayBook may come just as Apple releases a second-generation iPad that could have the dual-core processor, added RAM and cameras that would close the gap.

By Electronista Staff


  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008



    Following the puck again.

  1. dpicardi

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2006


    believe it when I see it

    Both current Touch screen BBs bite. So while the specs look great, it really will come down to how well executed it is. And so far BB track record with touch devices is piss poor.

  1. ehunt

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 2000


    love it

    it will make the iPad and the iOS better as they face increased competition!

  1. Kees

    Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 2001


    comment title

    I don't really care for tablets either way, but if your app development strategy is html 5, Flash and nothing, well, that doesn't sound like a winner to me.

  1. Koda

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2003


    Battery life?

    Still haven't found what the battery life is supposed to be with and without flash usage.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005


    Pathetic idiots

    How the heck does it challenge the iPad when all it is is a cheap imitation of it??? Apple has yet again proven that 99% of all the stuff that existed before Apple were worthless junk. Not one company has a single moron working for it that can actually come up with something NEW!! Pathetic.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Decent Competition, but Vaporware

    On one hand, It's good to FINALLY see someone actually demonstrating hardware that can compete in any meaningful way with the iPad--everything else thus far has just been theory and rumor. And it does sound like a solid competitor, which is good--competition benefits everybody.

    On the other hand, even if it's on schedule it won't ship until next year, and RIM has thus far not demonstrated any ability to make an OS that isn't oriented around the traditional Blackberry role--according to ever review I've read their touchscreen attempts have been lackluster, to put it charitably.

    So it's going to be hard to say anything meaningful about it until it actually ships, whenever that ends up being, and as Apple has demonstrated success of this kind of device has more to do with the software than the hardware.

  1. Fonejacker

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Advanced notice

    Apple now knows the hardware specs from a potential competitor except the price, I also think RIM are trying to get developers to write software for the launch in spring 2011, which is sensible. But if I was a developer I would want to know the price, to judge whether it's worth while spending a lot of time writing software that may not sell in large enough numbers, especially if RIM's sales are under 2 million per year. I think iPad sales will be about 2 million per month, the way things look. I expect RIM will tell developers the price under a Non Disclosure Agreement, but I expect the price to leak out. 2011 will be an very interesting year, plus we don't know what Apple have up their sleeves. New iPads announced in Jan 2011 should help push RIM out the door, before its launch. However, only the same size tablet should be considered a true competitor, 7" is obviously not the same size as Apple's iPad 9.7". And so far all these "iPad killers" are all more expensive with a smaller screen. So I can't see why you buy one. Smaller, more expensive, limited software/games/apps. Game set and match to Apple????

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: Jan 2003



    real compition for the iPad, only took half a year lol, still waiting for them to get the phone part right.

  1. djbeta

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jan 2004


    7" (Seven ?????) inches ????????

    Bad idea to make a "partner" device so small.. Have these engineers & designers tried to read a PDF on an iPad ?????? it's the BARE minimum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    7" is THE fail here..... (along with no 3g connectivity..... huh??????--- good way to let your business transform into other areas!!!!!)

    Apple... catch up with features please.

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