RIM take on the iPad with BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

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After months of speculation, RIM have finally unveiled their iPad-battling tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook.

7 inches in size, it’s considerable smaller than the iPad, and is running a brand new operating system called QNX, as opposed to the BlackBerry OS found in their smartphones.

“This is a really special announcement I’ve been saving for DEVCON”, said RIM CEO Michael Lazaridis at their DEVCON 2010 conference in San Francisco yesterday.

As well as full Flash 10.1 playback, the tablet is also compatible with HTML5, as well as offering 1080p HD video support. HD recording is also possible, with a 3MP front facing camera and 5MP rear camera both featuring.

As it’s being aimed squarely at BlackBerry owning business types, RIM have included a few enterprise-savvy features. Perhaps most notable is the ability to run two screens simultaenously off the device, perfect for making presentations; hook a projector up to show your slides, whilst you read your own notes off the tablet itself.

Here’s the full specs for the PlayBook.

— 7″ LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch
and gesture support
— BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
— 1 GHz dual-core processor
— 1 GB RAM
— Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD
video recording
— Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
— Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
— HDMI video output
— Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
— Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
— Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
— Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5,
Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL,
Java
— Ultra thin and portable:
— Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
— Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
— Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will
be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail
outlets.

RIM also plan to make 3G and 4G versions of the PlayBook available soon.

No word on pricing yet, but th BlackBerry PlayBook should be hitting US shops early next year, rolling out internationally in the Spring.

Gerald Lynch