The RIM BlackBerry PlayBook was unveiled at the 2010 BlackBerry Developer Conference. It's the first tablet for the company and will be available during Q2 2011, with 3G and 4G versions planned for the future. Pricing was not announced at this time.
Another aspect of the PlayBook's OS that has us smiling is the on-screen keyboard. The virtual keys are well-spaced and responsive. The overall tablet dimension and bezel size makes it easy to reach your fingers across the screen. And in a design twist we think is pretty smart, RIM groups their numeric keyboard all on the left side, making number entry a little more natural (especially for fans of BlackBerry's tactile smartphone keyboard).
The trouble with 7-inch tablets is that they're too big for your pocket, but not big enough to present web pages and documents at full size. Plus, guys will need to succumb to a man purse to tote it around.
For the BlackBerry loyal, users can momentarily pair (over Bluetooth) their BlackBerry phones to the PlayBook using a free optional app called BlackBerry Bridge. By making this connection, a new tab will appear in the PlayBook's app menu with options to display and manage your phone's bread and butter apps: BBM, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Memos.
The PlayBook features a 7-inch, WSVGA (1,024x600)capacitive touch screen with multitouch support. The tablet measures 5.1 inches tall by 7.6 inches wide by 0.4 inch thick and weighs just under a pound.
During the unveiling event, RIM President and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said the PlayBook was capable of true multitasking. Unlike BlackBerry smartphones, the device will run its own tablet OS called QNX and will be powered by a 1GHz dual-core chip.
BlackBerry Messenger addicts will be pleased to see that you'll be able to use the instant messaging app on the PlayBook as well. RIM also announced that it has opened up the BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform to applications.