Though it does not appear to be nearly as powerful, or as elegant as the iPad, the BlackBerry Playbook has a couple of things going for it that the iPad does not.
The first is a nationwide network which serves all other RIM devices on day one of its release. The second is the benefit of being ensconced in the enterprise already, with IT as well as management regarding BlackBerry as a known quantity, with a track record in big business.
As long as the look and feel continues to be BlackBerry-like, it will sell a ton, and gain traction immediately.
From ComputerWorld we have a very nice video presentation, which highlights all the various plusses of the new kid on the block.
Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled an “enterprise-ready” 7-in. touchscreen BlackBerry Playbook tablet on Monday that features front and rear high-definition cameras, a dual-core 1GHz processor and a new BlackBerry Tablet OS.
The PlayBook, due out early next year in the U.S., is less than half an inch thick and weighs less than a pound. It runs a new operating system developed by QNX Software that supports symmetric multiprocessing with use of the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture. QNX builds software that powers computing for core Internet routers and even vehicles, including those from GM, Nissan and Land Rover, officials said.
RIM officials at the BlackBerry DevCon 2010 in San Francisco unveiled the device for developers on hand for the event. The announcement was also Webcast live.
Some reports before the announcement had speculated that the device would be called BlackPad and provide competition for the 9.7-in touchscreen iPad released by Apple in April.
More likely, it will compete with the Cisco Cius device, which is focused on enterprises.
RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazarides said the PlayBook is “enterprise ready” because it is compatible with 250,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers deployed mainly in larger corporations to provide IT shops with more control and security. It will be available in the U.S. with a software development kit for third-party developers that is expected to be released in the next few weeks. Developers can register at www.blackberry.com/developers/tabletos.
The PlayBook supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and RIM “intends” to offer cellular-capable versions in the future, the company said in a statement.
The Bluetooth feature might offer another enterprise-ready capability, since it will allow a user to pair a BlackBerry smartphone with the PlayBook, using the larger tablet display to securely view any e-mail or document stored on the smartphone. When connected over Bluetooth, the smartphone content is viewable on the tablet, but the data remains on the phone and is only temporarily cached on the tablet, subject to what an IT shop decides.
Multimedia support is rich, including a 1024-by-600-pixel touchscreen and high-definition video playback in 1080p via HDMI. Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and HTML 5 are both supported for Web browsing.
Normally, I would say that 7” screens were not enough to combat the abilities and feel of the iPad, but with the capabilities of the BlackBerry and its name, I think that RIM has a winner before the race begins – unless Apple makes a big number of changes in the iPad. I doubt that will happen, because Apple is not known to change direction in mid stream with things, and because the company knows it will enjoy great success with the non-enterprise crowd.
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