RIM unveils BlackBerry PlayBook

VIDEO: QNX-powered Black
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RIM has launched a new seven-inch tablet called the BlackBerry PlayBook which, unlike competiting devices, does not offer 3G support.

Unveiling the new device at Research In Motions annual BackBerry Developers Conference, the new tablet had previously been rumoured to be called the BlackPad. Unlike the smartphone devices, the PlayBook is based on the QNX operating system which RIM acquired from Harman in April.

"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 RIM boss Mike. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia."

The focus on gaming comes as a surprise since RIM has traditionally been strong in the enterprise sector with the iconic keyboard-equipped BackBerry secure message smartphones. The PlayBook boasts 1 dual core 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 7-inch 1024 x 600 display with full OpenGL compatibility, more than is typically needed to browse office emails.

RIM also made much of the device handling Flash content, in contrast to Apple's iPad, as well as Adobe AIR applications. Despite the name and game-friendly hardware specifications, RIM called the PlayBook the first "professional tablet".

The PlayBook is capable of outputing full HD 1080p video out a built-in HDMI port and offers 802.11n Wi-Fi, connectivity the PlayBook must rely upon without a dedicated 3G connection althought the unit is also equipped with Bluetooth 2.1. Wi-Fi or Bluetooth can be used to tether the device to a 3G smartphone.

The PlayBook's smaller 7-inch screen has a few less horizontal pixels at 600 vs the iPad's 768 and the device shaves off another 2-inches in horizontal and verticle measurements. The PlayBook also clocks in at 400 grams which is over 40 per cent lighter than the iPad's hefty 700 grams.

RIM didn't confirm a launch date for the PlayBook other than "early 2011" however it did say that 3G and 4G-equipped versions would be coming.

See below for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook preview:

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