The rumors were true, though it’s not called the BlackPad: At BlackBerry DevCon today, RIM revealed their 7-inch tablet computer, to be called the BlackBerry Playbook.
From the press release:
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:
o Measures 5.1”x7.6”x0.4” (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
o 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.
tl;dr 7-inch HD tablet, 1 GHz dual-core CPU, 1 GB RAM, front and rear cameras, runs Flash 10.1 and supports HTML 5, and has an on-screen keyboard and true multitasking. Also, that “BlackBerry Tablet OS” is indeed based on QNX’s Neutrino microkernel architecture, which means that the BlackBerry 6 OS could be sadly dead in the water.
Also: While “RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future,” making it Wi-Fi only at present, it appears that the WSJ’s scoop regarding the tablet’s unique connectivity with BlackBerry smartphones is correct: It’ll be possible to tether a Playbook to a BlackBerry via Bluetooth.
For those BlackBerry PlayBook users who carry a BlackBerry smartphone*, it will also be possible to pair their tablet and smartphone using a secure Bluetooth® connection. This means they can opt to use the larger tablet display to seamlessly and securely view any of the email, BBM™, calendar, tasks, documents and other content that resides on (or is accessible through) their smartphone. They can also use their tablet and smartphone interchangeably without worrying about syncing or duplicating data.
The Playbook is not going to be anyone’s Christmas present this year, though: “The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to be available in retail outlets and other channels in the United States in early 2011 with rollouts in other international markets beginning in (calendar) Q2.”
No word on the Blackberry Playbook’s battery life (a strong suit of Apple’s rival iPad) or its pricing.
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