Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Playbook tablet is set to launch next week, targeting the enterprise community but also the consumer market. The latter is of utmost importance to RIM, considering the expansion of tablets into the tech world. What are the benefits for the average consumer of purchasing the Playbook rather than an iPad 2 or Galaxy S tab?
The Playbook is a small tablet, built beautifully with the durable hardware we’ve come to expect from BlackBerry. The device itself is quite undersize, centering around a 7” 1024×600 WSVGA capacitive LCD touch screen. The internals include a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of ram and the Blackberry Tablet OS, a version of QNX OS.
Its 64 gigs of internal storage will ensure that the PlayBook can store plenty of applications and media. The device packs dual cameras capable of recording full 1080p footage, which actually puts the PlayBook slightly ahead of the iPad 2 in the photography department. The front-facing camera is 3 MP while the rear camera is 5.
The most enticing feature you’ll find on the Playbook certainly isn’t in its selection of applications, which is quite dense (even in the tiny BlackBerry App World catalog), but in its browser. RIM went to work building a full webkit brower, complete with Flash 10.1, embedded YouTube video performance, and smooth pinch-to-zoom action.
Furthermore, the PlayBook comes with Sheet, Microsoft Word and Slideshow to Go from DataVis, giving you the ability to view PPT, DOC and XLS files. The device’s native applications are also extremely well-done, such as the calculator app. The calculator interface is strikingly detailed, and a “paper tally” prints out each calculation.
My very first post for Walyou (September 2010) happened to a preview of the Playbook, in which I pointed out that RIM was focusing its attention on the consumer market while still trying to appeal to its enterprise user base.
I can now report that this tablet is, unfortunately for the majority of users, a mostly pro-business gadget. While the device’s browser and native app set are positive steps forward for BlackBerry, the massive lack of apps currently available, poor battery life and shaky software build make it a step down from its iOS and Android competitors.
The Playbook will be available starting on April 19th for $499.
Looking for more of the best tablet news and reviews? You’ll have to see Dell Announces Android Tablet and HTC Evolve Android.