Research In Motion, a leading maker of business oriented mobile phones, has announced its BlackBerry PlayBook slate that is designed for web browsing, multitasking and high performance multimedia, while also providing advanced security features as well as out-of-the-box enterprise support. Unfortunately, the powerful tablet that can redefine the market will only be available in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2011, over three months from now.
BlackBerry PlayBook is based on a dual-core ARM microprocessor and features 1GB of memory, an unknown amount of flash storage, dual HD cameras (5MP rear facing and 3MB front facing), Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n (3G and 4G models to be available in the future), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, microHDMI as well as microUSB connectors and so on. The product fully supports MP3, full-HD video playback (1080p, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV) as well as WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java. The slate features 7" screen with 1024x600 resolution and weighs less than a pound (400g).
Based on specifications, it is evident that RIM's PlayBook is a very advanced device that combines low weight with decent performance and wide multimedia capabilities. Moreover, with robust security and support for various enterprise specific technologies the PlayBook has all chances to become a device of choice both for consumers and business customers.
“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," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at Research In Motion.
Thanks to the seamless and secure Bluetooth pairing experience and the highly secure underlying OS architecture, the BlackBerry PlayBook is enterprise ready and compatible (out-of-the-box) with BlackBerry Enterprise Server. When connected over Bluetooth, the smartphone content is viewable on the tablet, but the content actually remains stored on the BlackBerry smartphone and is only temporarily cached on the tablet (and subject to IT policy controls). With this approach to information security, IT departments can deploy the BlackBerry PlayBook to employees out-of-the-box without worrying about all the security and manageability issues that arise when corporate data is stored on yet another device.
But while RIM BlackBerry PlayBook offers better specifications amid lower weight compared to Apple iPad, everything is not that simple. First of all, RIM does not sell content, hence, customers will have to acquire it from other companies, which will hardly be a real problem as companies like Amazon or Barns & Noble will likely offer both e-book and multimedia applications for the device. Secondly, at least initially the PlayBook will rely strictly on BlackBerry smartphones as initial version does not support WWAN of any kind. Thirdly, it will only become available in Q1 2011 and by that time competing products may offer even better functionality. In fourth, at least initially there will be few applications for BlackBerry slate compared to tablets based on Google Android or iPhone OS. All in all, while RIM BlackBerry PlayBook seems to be a very advanced device now, its actual market success will be determined by the quality of competing tablets (that will naturally not require a BlackBerry phone).