RIM Announces BlackBerry PlayBook: Should Apple Be Worrying?

By Rahul Dowlath | Cell Phones

At the BlackBerry DEVCON, a developer-focussed event held by BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, an announcement was made yesterday at the opening keynote that sent shockwaves throughout the tech community: the rumours were confirmed when RIM announced its foray into the tablet market with the all-new BlackBerry PlayBook.

Now to my eyes, this new gadget looks suspiciously like RIM’s response to the outcry many an Apple fan made at the iPad announcement when it was discovered that there would be no camera, it wouldn’t have multitasking capabilities and it would be limited by the closed-off ecosystem that Apple has created.

Let’s take a look at the specs of the PlayBook to better understand this:

  • 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
  • Measures 5.1?x7.6?x0.4? (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)

According to GigaOM and many other tech blogs, the PlayBook is targeted towards business users. But with rich media features and two HD cameras, it’s safe to say that this new tablet will find itself in the hands of many discerning consumers. Thus it proves a viable, stylish and feature-rich alternative to the Apple iPad.

Apple should definitely take note of the PlayBook as this tablet is likely to steal the thunder from the iPad, particularly with its dual HD cameras. A powerful processor, and proven BlackBerry enterprise capabilities built-in from day one mean that consumers effectively are getting more bang for the buck with this tablet than with the closed architecture of the iPad.

Don’t get me wrong: the iPad is still a revolutionary gadget in its own right; its launch triggered an overhaul in the tech industry to the extent that companies like RIM are clamouring to get a share of the excitement. But Apple mustn’t become complacent with their status at the top of the league, otherwise newcomers like RIM will certainly give them a run for their dollar.

But hey, competition is good at the end of the day — and ultimately, it’s the consumer who wins.

About the Author

I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.