Monday, September 27, 2010

Blackberry Announces the Playbook Tablet

Today, RIM announced their new tablet – the PlayBook.  Its thankfully not going to be called the BlackPad and looks pretty nice based on the specs and first looks I’ve seen.  But there are plenty of things going against it.

Blackberry’s new tablet, the PlayBook will run a Cortex A9, 1GHz dual-core CPU with 1 GB of RAM, a 7-inch screen, multitasking (looks kind of like the way the Palm webOS handles app switching), 1080p HDMI video, HDMI port, USB port, an e-reader, full document editing and it pairs with BlackBerry phones.  Oh and yes it has a front and rear HD camera and is only 9.7mm thick!  Yes that mouthful of specifications makes this iPad owner drool just a little bit.

Now for the somewhat negative news depending on how you look at it:

  • The PlayBook will run on a new platform called BlackBerry Tablet OS.  This could really be good or bad, but yet another platform certainly gives Blackberry some challenges.  Since we don’t have any real hands-on looks at the UI yet beyond demo videos I’ll take a wait-&-see attitude.  We all remember BlackBerry’s last few UI attempts for touchscreen…
  • The planned available date is “Early 2011.”  That’s not that long really, but Apple already has a heck of a head start and will sell tons of iPads this Christmas.  And I’ll be surprised if Apple doesn’t get a hardware refresh for the iPad out before this PlayBook makes it to market.  Add to that the many other tablets coming soon – especially the Android variety and things get especially tough.
  • It’s going to be expensive.  If this thing doesn’t cost more than the current iPad does I’ll be shocked.  I mean look at the hardware specs!  Price will matter when tablets are already pretty much a luxury item.  I think the hardware demands more cash, but I’m not sure how the mass market will see it.
  • They call it a business device – a “professional tablet.”  I know this is to target the existing Blackberry fanbase, but if the focus is on business first that could give the casual users more pause.

All negatives aside, I’m impressed by the PlayBook from what I’ve seen.  It sure looks like it could be a dream tablet for a media enthusiast.  Check out the video below and let me know what you think:

via BlackBerry Blog