This week, RIM announced the Blackberry Playbook – a sleek tablet with a 7 inch high resolution touchscreen, clearly designed to be a competitor to the Apple iPad.
Where do I begin? To start, it comes with a dual-core processor. RIM claims that it will be the fastest tablet on the market. Some other notable pluses are:
- dual HD cameras, one front and one on the back
- 1 gig of RAM (4 times that of the iPad)
- a litte more than half the weight of the iPad
- industry standard HDMI and microUSB connectors
- full 1080p HD playback
- full HTML5 browsing experience with Adobe Flash and AIR support
- symmetric multi-processing for true multitasking
- real-time video conferencing
- full syncing capabilities with your Blackberry phone
RIM purchased QNX and utilized their resources to produce the new Tablet OS that runs on the Playbook. This new OS looks very slick with, what appears to be, a rich easy-to-use interface.
Well, for one thing, the initial versions will only have Wifi connectivity — no mobile or 3G/4G access. I am not really sure why RIM decided to release it without full mobile support initially. One of the big appeals of the iPad is that 3G wireless internet subscriptions are easy to turn on and off as needed, which makes the device truly portable. While RIM has confirmed that 3G connectivity will be available in future models, I think it’s a big mistake not to include it from the start. Some other minor shortcomings are:
- slightly smaller screen than the iPad
- questionable app support – can ANYONE compete with the Apple AppStore?
- brand new OS with limited developer support
- not available until next year at the earliest
- pricing still unknown
The “Other” Guys
Blackberry is not Apple’s only competition. Android-based tablets are already available (see Samsung Galaxy), and HP is readying a Windows 7-based tablet called the Slate. And every single one of them wants to take the iPad down a few notches. What Apple always seems to have in it’s favor is a consistent user interface across it’s products (iPhone, iPod touch, iPad), and HUGE developer support through the AppStore.
Do you have a tablet device already, or are you in the market for one? We’d love to hear what you think of the new Playbook and if it’s slick enough to sway you away from the iPad.