Today at Research In Motion's annual BlackBerry Developer Conference, CEO Mike Lazaridis announced the company's new tablet -- the PlayBook. The tablet will utilize an OS created by the recently acquiredQNX
(just as we'd heard previous to the announcement) called the BlackBerry
Tablet OS which will offer full OpenGL and POSIX support alongside web
standards such as HTML5 (which is all tied into RIM's new WebWorks
SDK). Lazaridis was joined on stage by the company's founder, Dan
Dodge, who said that "QNX is going to enable things that you have never
seen before," and added that the PlayBook would be "an incredible
gaming platform for publishers and the players." RIM also touted the
PlayBook's ability to handle Flash content via Flash 10.1, as well as
Adobe AIR apps. The new slate -- which Lazaridis described as "the
first professional tablet" -- will sport a 7-inch, 1024 x 600,
capacitive multitouch display, a Cortex A9-based, dual-core 1GHz CPU
(the company calls it the "fastest tablet ever"), 1GB of RAM, and a 3
megapixel front-facing camera along with a 5 megapixel rear lens (and
yes, there will be video conferencing). There was no mention of onboard
storage capacity during the keynote, though the devices we just spied
in our eyes-on post
are labeled 16GB and 32GB on their back panels. The PlayBook will be
capable of 1080p HD video, and comes equipped with an HDMI port as well
as a microUSB jack, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1. The device
clocks in at a svelte 5.1- by 7.6-inches, is only 0.4-inches thick, and
weighs just 400g (or about 0.9 pounds).
In terms of interface, the OS looks like a mashup of webOS and the
BlackBerry OS, even allowing for multitasking via what amounts to a
"card" view. Interestingly, RIM and QNX boasted of the PlayBook's
multimedia and gaming functions, but Mike Lazaridis also described the
tablet as "an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry."
That's due largely in part to a function of the tablet which allows you
to siphon data off of your BlackBerry handset via Bluetooth tethering
and display it on your PlayBook (a la the ill-fated Palm Foleo).
While the PlayBook doesn't seem to rely on phone content alone, the
press release from the company says that users can "use their tablet
and smartphone interchangeably without worrying about syncing or
duplicating data." RIM didn't hand out any solid launch dates beyond
"early 2011," and of course, there was no mention of retail price.
We've got a slew of content after the break, including the PlayBook
spec rundown, the company's press release, and a full video of the
device (and UI) in action -- so take a look!