BlackBerry unveils Playbook tablet to rival iPad
Blackberry’s new Playbook tablet will be "the fastest ever" tablet, says Research in Motion as it aims for slice of Apple’s iPad market.
BlackBerry will release the tablet early in the new year. The device will feature a 7-inch multitouch touchscreen and a new operating system derived from the company’s purchase of company QNX.
BlackBerry chief executive Mike Lazaridis was joined at the launch by the company's founder, Dan Dodge, who said that "QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before”.
Lazardis said the PlayBook would be “the first professional tablet”, and Dodge added that it would be "an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players”.
The tablet will be able to run Adobe’s Flash, which Apple’s iPad doesn’t, and offer micro-HDMI and micro-usb ports. It weighs just 400g and includes dual HD cameras for video calling.
Pricing and release dates have not yet been announced, but it will be available in the USA in the first quarter of 2011 and “international markets” in the second quarter.
Although 3G and 4G models are planned for the future, the device will initially connect to the web via wifi or via a user’s BlackBerry smartphone, and offer a reflection of its screen for expanded use.
Lazardis said it will offer “true multi-tasking” and "an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry”. It’s expected that 16gb and 32gb models will be offered.
The new operating system will also offer open standards, which RIM says will be “a breakthrough development platform for IT departments and developers”. The developers’ kit will be available in the next few weeks.
The move represents the confirmation of rumours of a “BlackPad” that have run through the industry since Apple launched its iPad.
It comes after Samsung announced a similar tablet, the Tab, although RIM has stuck with its own in-house operating system, whereas Samsung and a host of other manufacturers have adopted Google’s Android.