RIM confirmed rumors of a tablet by introducing the BlackBerry PlayBook, a powerful 7-inch device that will offer a dual-core 1GHz processor, full HTML 5 browser, Flash 10.1 with video acceleration, 1 GB of RAM, 1080p playback with HDMI output and two HD cameras, all built atop the QNX operating system.
The PlayBook connects to all 250,000 BlackBerry Enterprise Servers, offering solid security and management and cementing its appeal with enterprise users. That’s how RIM is framing the PlayBook, first as an “enterprise-ready professional tablet.” But with a full WebKit browser, multitasking and multimedia support, it should appeal to consumers as well.
In April, RIM bought QNX, which had been working on the PlayBook operating system for at least a year. The QNX operating system has been deployed in cars, medical devices, networking gear from Cisco and other embedded machines.
Dan Dodge, CEO of QNX, said the operating system is advanced and modern, created with multiprocessing and security in mind. He said all of the learning QNX gained from other applications of the OS went into the PlayBook OS.
The platform will support a Java virtual machine to apparently support many of the existing BlackBerry apps. That addresses some of the questions about dividing developers between two platforms. Developers will also be able to create apps using WebWorks, RIM’s new platform for developing web apps and packaging them for BlackBerry App World. And they’ll be able to build Adobe Air apps as well 3-D applications that take advantage of the PlayBook’s support for Open GL.
Users will be able to tether the PlayBook with a BlackBerry handset via Bluetooth. RIM plans to offer 3G and 4G versions of the PlayBook in the future.
There’s no word on the pricing of the tablet. But it’s headed for release in early 2011.
Here’s a list of complete specs:
Key features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook include:
- 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 intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):
- Why Google Launched App Inventor
- Rogue Devices: The Consumer Influence on Enterprise Mobility, Part 1
- Transient Apps: The Consumer Influence on Enterprise Mobility, Part 2