As we reported last week, RIM - makers of the BlackBerry smartphone - have unveiled this week their long awaited answer to the iPad. Research in Motion was initially expected to call the 7-inch multi-touch tablet a "BlackPad." But on Monday, Mike Lazardis, president and co-CEO of RIM, unveiled the BlackBerry "PlayBook," which clearly takes aim at the Apple product that, until now, has largely dominated the tablet marketplace without a legitimate competitor.
"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 Lazardis. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised Web browsing and high performance multimedia."
Much like the BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry tablet is all about "business," as the device will be heavily marketed to the corporate and business community. Among a multitude of attributes, it comes with a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and two HD cameras. It will be 9.7mm thick and sport both HDMI and USB ports. Perhaps best of all for digital media junkies, the tablet offers 1080p resolution video playback.
Interestingly enough, Shantanu Narayen, the chief executive of Adobe, joined Lazaridis for the roll out of the "Playbook." Why? You guessed it. The device will be compatible and friendly toward Adobe’s Flash software - something we all know Apple and its products are not.
Initially, the PlayBook won't deliver integrated 3G or 4G data connectivity, although that will eventually change. For now, PlayBook users can enjoy their device over Wi-Fi or via connection with a BlackBerry smartphone. Unfortunately, despite initial reports of the RIM tablet being released before Christmas, the holiday season will not see the "PlayBook." Instead, the company won't roll out the tablet to retail outlets in the US until "early 2011."