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HolidayBuyer's Guide

A bigger Berry

Power

Another day, another OS

Fake HD

The wild, wild web

More than web videos

Dude, where's my data?

A double Cyclops!

User experience

From a distance

A little closer

Super slim

The one with the more gee-bees

Full-frontal

Playful

Research In Motion launched a tablet computer at its DevCon 2010 event, unveiling the PlayBook as a device it was careful to describe as professional-grade.

Co-CEO of RIM, Mike Lazaridis, had the honour of revealing the new touchscreen computer, playing a demonstration video before running through some of the key specifications, while leaving plenty of areas, like pricing and availability, still shrouded in mystery.

RIM's PlayBook tablet.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

The PlayBook takes what is arguably the best parts of the dimensions of the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab, with a 7-inch LCD display and a petite 9.6mm in depth. It'll also weigh about 400g, making nearly half the weight of the hefty iPad.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

The PlayBook will run with impressive innards: 1GB of RAM supporting a 1GHz dual-core processor.

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Opting not to simply rescale BlackBerry OS6, the PlayBook runs on the POSIX OS, a portable version of Unix, multithreaded to run several applications simultaneously.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

With a WSVGA (1024x600-pixel) resolution, the PlayBook won't display in true HD, but it can output to a 1080p-compatible device via an HDMI cable. Lazaridis told us in his keynote that the PlayBook would be able to output one image while displaying another on its LCD, suggesting this would open up a range of cool new apps.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

BlackBerry phones have been far from the best web browsing devices for a few years now, but RIM is obviously aiming for top spot in the tablet space. The PlayBook will sport an HTML5-compatible WebKit browser with support for Adobe Flash 10.1.

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Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen joined Lazaridis on stage to discuss the numerous ways Adobe products would find their way onto the PlayBook, including apps developed with Adobe Air.

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Perhaps the most interesting part of this announcement was that the original BlackBerry tablet rumours were true, this is a companion device. The PlayBook will share a user's BlackBerry service account and unlimited data, saving them having to pay for two telco data accounts. Those who don't have or want a BlackBerry smartphone can still use the PlayBook, with data via 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi

Like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the BlackBerry PlayBook features two cameras, with the front-facing camera capable of video calling.

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This is the best glimpse we got of the user interface during today's unveiling, with its multitasking and Apple-esque app icons.

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We were impressed during the presentation, but definitely keen to get a little closer...

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This is as "hands-on" as anyone could get with the PlayBook today, which was sealed like Sleeping Beauty behind glass.

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Its 9.6mm waistline sure is impressive to see in the flesh.

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This isn't a spec we've been able to confirm storage options with RIM as yet, but that's a decent whack of internal memory to play with.

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From the front again, showing off its video playback skills.

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But don't let that Cookie Monster blue fool you, this is not a toy.

Caption by / Photo by CBSi
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