The BlackPad has been a rumor for a while now, but RIM has finally made it a reality with the announcement of the Blackberry Playbook today at Research In Motion's annual BlackBerry Developer Conference. Just as many have speculated, it's being specifically targeted toward business people, which will differentiate it from Apple's iPad and make it more desirable for large organizations.
"RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry with cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia."
It is somewhat surprising that the PlayBook doesn't use Blackberry OS 6. They have opted to develop an entirely new platform specifically for tablet computing called Blackberry Tablet OS. It's based on the recently acquired QNX and will support full OpenGL, POSIX, and web standards such as HTML5. Founder Dan Dodge says that "QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before," and mentions the Playbook will be "an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players."
The Playbook measures less than half an inch thick and weighs less than a pound. It features a 7" high-resolution display and, according to the press release, "looks and feels great in your hand." It supports true symmetric multiprocessing and sports a 1Ghz dual-core processor. This provides the user with a "highly responsive and fluid touch screen experience for apps and content services."
Speaking of content services, the new tablet supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, and HTML5. It will offer a complete and full web browsing experience while also providing another avenue for developers to create native apps. It has front and rear-facing HD cameras and can record from both at the same time. The Playbook integrates seamlessly with your existing BlackBerry device using Bluetooth and also supports Wi-Fi.
The BlackBerry Playbook should be available at retail outlets in early 2011. Are you getting a PlayBook? Take a look at the video and tell us what you think in the comments.