RIM have unveiled a new tablet computer that they hope can compete with the iPad and give them access to the growing tablet market. With a 7 inch screen and dual facing cameras, the BlackBerry PlayBook is going be available to consumers early next year.
Everyone knew that Research In Motion were going to come up with a tablet design eventually, so this news hasn’t really taken anyone by surprise. The wait has been down to a lack of interest from investors, because despite their ongoing success in the business community, investors seem worried about their eroding support within the wider community.
Co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis told developers “PlayBook delivers a no-compromises web experience”, but we will have to wait and see just how true this is. Developers and corporate customers are going to get the PlayBook much earlier in October, although the rest of us will have to wait until after the holiday season.
RIM are hoping the PlayBook is going to widen their appeal and become a hit with non-boardroom types. It seems that RIM shareholders are in agreement, with an initial 2 percent spike when this announcement was made. However, the market in tablets is getting pretty congested at the moment, a situation that is only likely to get worse in the coming months.
In a curious move, the RIM PlayBook will have WiFi and Bluetooth, but needs to link with a BlackBerry smartphone in order to access a cellular network. The lack of a direct link means that carriers will be less eager to promote and subsidize this tablet, but its ability to mirror a regular BlackBerry phone will come in very useful for corporate departments.
The RIM PlayBook will use a dual-core, 1GHz processor running a QNX kernel and an operating system that will incorporate BlackBerry OS6. It is only going to weigh 400 grams, which is not that much more than most smartphones. While a price has not yet been announced for the PlayBook, with its small screen it is likely to be in the lower range of the tablet pricing spectrum.