As previously rumoured, RIM have announced their very own tablet, called the Playbook. How does it stack up against the competition, though? Won’t you join me as I run down all of the features – inside and out – of this new device? I thought so…
Multitasking done right
Just about every major tablet in existence can now do multitasking, although Apple is late to the party with it’s iOS 4.2 release for the iPad still in Beta until November. How a device multitasks, though, is just as important as the feature itself. Whereas the iPad doesn’t allow a process to carry on running fully in the background, instead freezing its state and allowing certain API’s to function without user interaction, RIM claims that the Playbook can truly multitask, with operations continuing to run in the background even when you can’t see them.
Incredibly intimidating hardware
Please excuse me fantasising over this hardware for a second whilst I run through it with you… The Playbook will come with 1GB of RAM, four times the amount in the Apple iPad, and a dual core 1GHz processor as well. Not only does this equal lots of calculations per second, but it also supports the use of dual cameras (5MP rear, 3MP front) for video conferencing and 1080p video playback (yes, even the new Apple TV can’t do that!).
The display is 7″ in size and has a resolution of 1024 x 600, meaning that it has a better pixel density than the iPad’s 10″ screen of a similar resolution. As if the device couldn’t get any better, we’re also going to be treated to HDMI and a Micro-USB port for output.
Seriously sleek software
Although we’ve not had the chance to see the software up close and personal yet, and most probably won’t be able to until closer to the release date next year, the promotional video gives us a pretty good glance, and it looks very impressive.
The operating system isn’t BlackBerry 6 OS itself, but a special tablet OS powered by QNX Technology, which was purchased by RIM earlier this year. If you haven’t seen the promotional video already, you should definitely take a look at it below – it shows off multitasking with a webOS feel, and some other awesome shots.
A lotta love for Flash
There is one major software related thing that I haven’t mentioned yet, and that is Flash. I know, I know, technically this is software related, but I felt it deserved its own sub-heading. The promotional video from RIM describes the Playbook as “Flash loving”, which is another dig at a certain fruit-inspired company’s iPad tablet that a few Flash lovers aren’t happy with! If Android isn’t your thing, and you can’t live without Flash, then you’ll love this “Flash tablet”.
Video, video, video
I’ve already mentioned that this thing can handle 1080p video, but I didn’t mention the formats it could support. Fortunately, you aren’t as limited as you would be with an iPad (although the VLC iPad app has made things a lot easier in that department), and can playback content encoded in h.264, WMV, DivX and MPEG. Now let’s just hope there’s enough storage to handle all my media, shall we?
Pricing and Availability
We’re told that the Playbook will be available next year, meaning that we have to wait a few months for it yet, although it could be a very happy person’s late Christmas present (rich readers, that there would be what I call a little hint)!
No word on pricing of this ‘Blackberry tablet’ yet, but as soon as we hear anything in that department we will be sure to let you know.