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Live demo debut of flashy BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

The BlackBerry PlayBook has been shown off live and in public, running for the very first time. Flash will be a big part of the tablet, as RIM blows raspberries at Apple.

The BlackBerry PlayBook has been demoed live for the first time, with its multitasking and Flash capabilities given a thorough airing.

Although the PlayBook has been discussed and pictured to death, the tablet itself had been kept well under wraps -- until now. At the launch of the PlayBook, the anticipated slate was locked behind glass, lest a stray tech journo should land their grubby mitts on it. But at Adobe's MAX conference in Los Angeles, RIM co-chief Mike Lazaridis showed the 7-inch tablet off for the first time, running live in public.

The demo showed off the ability of the PlayBook to run Adobe AIR apps and Flash Player 10.1, with RIM having already stated the tablet was built with this in mind. The PlayBook ran a high-definition video from the YouTube website with Flash Player, rather than from an app. This is particularly interesting when you consider the enmity Apple has with Adobe, and that Flash is banned from the iPad.

In a veiled attack on Apple's attitude towards Flash, Lazaridis said: "We're not trying to dumb down the Internet for a small mobile device. What we're trying to do is to bring out the performance and capability of the mobile device, to the Internet."

The demo also showed off the new BlackBerry Tablet OS, with its multitasking and touchscreen capability. It will be a complete change from the BlackBerry 6 OS, and potentially something that will find its way into a new generation of smart phones.

As for the hardware, we already knew the PlayBook's specs, which look impressive. The tablet will have a 7-inch, 1,024x600-pixel, capacitive LCD touchscreen with full multi-touch and gesture support. It'll be powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It also has a 5-megapixel camera on the back and a 3-megapixel one on the front, with one camera capable of video-calling.

It comes with Wi-Fi, but, oddly, it won't have 3G. RIM said you'll be able to tether your existing BlackBerry smart phone for a 3G Web connection, but we still think it's an odd omission.

So what do you think of the BlackBerry PlayBook finally running? Is all that Flash going to help it sell more than the iPad, or will it frustrate by sucking the battery dry? Comments welcome.

Image credit: IntoMobile