Now it can be told: the RIM tablet is real and it’s called the PlayBook. Mike Lazaridis introduced the device and a new BlackBerry Tablet OS at the Research in Motion developer event, and it’s clear that the company is targeting the professional crowd with some pretty beefy specs:
Enterprise-ready features of the PlayBook included full document editing, eReading, and BlackBerry pairing. Engadget reports that the PlayBook has “webOS-like app switching” and that Lazaridis claims it will offer “an amplified view of what’s already on your BlackBerry.” The press release offers a few more BlackBerry Tablet OS details, which is based on QNX: “…uncompromised web browsing, true multitasking and high performance multimedia …advanced security features …and a breakthrough development platform for IT departments and developers.” With the powerful CPU inside, this tablet is supposed to achieve “true symmetric multiprocessing.”
Early rumors said that the tablet would have to be paired with a BlackBerry device to work, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. BlackBerry owners will be able to pair the PlayBook with their mobiles via Bluetooth and see their data on the larger screen. Plus, tablet and phone will keep themselves in sync, making the transition between them seamless.
RIM looks to be balancing the professional and recreational with the PlayBook. There’s Adobe Flash 10.1 support with assurances of the “full web” experience via the Webkit/HTML 5-ready browser. There’s also two HD cameras for video capture and conferencing, and an HDMI port for presentations or watching your favorite media. The company promises an open, flexible application platform, enticing developers to come and play in their garden.
Will it work? RIM isn’t the first to present an enterprise tablet to the world. And with the company’s struggle to beat back Android in the smart phone arena, are they really ready to compete in the tablet market where Google’s OS already has a strong following? Given that the apps are likely to make or break this endeavor, the company is courting developers by giving them choices, allowing for apps built in Adobe AIR as well as the newly announced BlackBerry WebWorks app platform. If they build apps, will consumers come?
Check out RIM’s video of the PlayBook below and our video of CEO Mike Lazaridis demonstrating it. Would you get one?