RIM unveils PlayBook tablet with dual-core CPU, 1080p support

RIM logoRIM Co-CEO Mike Lazardis used his keynote speech at the 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference on Monday to show off the company's new BlackBerry PlayBook touchscreen tablet. Lazardis called the 7" widescreen device the "first professional tablet," touting its BlackBerry enterprise integration and full web experience with HTML5 and Flash 10.1 compatibility.

The tablet hardware is fairly impressive, sporting a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9-based processor, 1GB of RAM, and an undisclosed GPU capable of running OpenGL code. The device has a 3MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera, both of which record HD video at 1080p resolution. 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, microUSB, and microHDMI round out the connectivity options, with 3G and 4G options planned for eventual release next year.

Probably the most divisive design decision may be the 7" 1024 x 600 pixel widescreen display. While this size is the same as the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Tab—and appears to be what many upcoming tablet products plan to use—it does make for a somewhat awkward aspect ratio for vertical orientation. However, Lazardis emphasized how the size makes the device extremely portable. At just 9.7mm thick, it could conceivably fit into a largish jacket pocket. Weighing in at less than one pound, it should be easy to carry, but RIM hasn't mentioned word one about battery life—it may not be as long as many users would like.

As rumored, the PlayBook will run a new QNX-based multitasking OS called BlackBerry Tablet OS. BlackBerry will offer a full POSIX-compatible native SDK for its tablet OS, as well as a JavaVM to run apps written for BlackBerry OS 6. Additionally, RIM announced WebWorks to build web-based applications. Full native API support is available via JavaScript, and leverages the same WebKit-based browser as BlackBerry OS 6 for HTML5 compatibility.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

The PlayBook will also have a fully hardware-accelerated version of Flash 10.1, bringing users a "full web experience." And developers will be able to build Flash and AIR-based apps for the PlayBook, on top of the native, Java, and Web APIs.

The PlayBook will be able to pair with a BlackBerry smartphone for sharing data and its 3G data connection. It also is compatible with full device management solutions and BlackBerry Enterprise Server integration. Lazardis called it "BlackBerry amplified."

The PlayBook isn't expected to launch until the first quarter of 2011 in the US, with international rollout continuing through the second quarter. No pricing is yet available, and some specifications may be subject to change. Developers can sign up for access to cross-platform BlackBerry Tablet OS developer tools starting today.

Source: ars technica

Tags: RIM, tablets

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