A Closer Look at the BlackBerry PlayBook

The coming BlackBerry ‘PlayBook’ tablet was announced yesterday by Research In Motion (RIM). Rumors have been circulating about the device for months and even landed in the Wall Street Journal. Now that the tablet is official, here is a closer look at what it will offer those who buy it when it goes on sale sometime early next year.

The technical specs (check out the link for a video also) of the coming BlackBerry PlayBook are actually quite impressive—at least when compared to what is currently on the market. Before you get too excited, keep in mind that similarly spec’d tablets from a variety of manufacturers will be out around the same time too. However, the fact that RIM is going full steam ahead with a new operating system and specs that aren’t two years old is a very comforting fact. It looks like RIM has actually been listening to all of the criticism over the past year regarding its reliance on using the same processors for quite a few models. Basically speaking, this will be a BlackBerry that you won’t be ashamed to put to a benchmark test against anything else around. Hopefully, similarly powerful smartphones from the company will start coming out around the same time.

With its dual-core 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, the PlayBook will be able to scream through media, apps and whatever else you want to throw at it. I’m hoping some similar specs will find their way into the real BlackBerry Storm3 (not the refresh coming out soon). Ah, let us hope. Also, the HMDI output and USB input are a comforting sign. This tablet is starting to look a lot like my dream tablet I wrote/fantasized about recently.

How about the PlayBook’s lack of a cellular radio? It looks like RIM is putting out this model first, but is promising that 3G and even 4G capable models will be eventually hitting the market. Not a bad idea. After all, the current tablet leader—the Apple iPad—has both 3G and Wi-Fi only models. Don’t think that the lack of 3G in the first model will be too much of a deal-killer though. You will be able to Bluetooth tether it to your BlackBerry smartphone.

I really like the way this tablet is looking right now. While we will still have to wait for the price, don’t expect this to be outrageously expensive. RIM has enough economy of scale to make this affordable. I think this might be a sign that RIM is realizing that it needs to start delivering the products that people want, not the products that it can make for the cheapest and force onto business clients because they’ve already bought into the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The new age of RIM and the BlackBerry? Maybe.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in this thing. I might just be scrapping my plans for an iPad 2 for the the PlayBook.

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