In contrast to the rest of the emerging tablet PC devices being rolled out by competitors to rival the iPad (such as the Dell Streak or the Samsung Tab), the new BlackBerry Playbook appears designed to attack the iPad in a whole different sense- in pure gadget power and spec superiority. As the Playbook is expected to eventually price in somewhere in the over-$500 area, one can expect the device to be packed to the brim with gadgetry and functions.
One thing that will be unique about the PlayBook whenever we do finally see it is the BlackBerry Tablet OS, created by QNX. This has been one of the main highlights during the glimpses we've gotten of the PlayBook, and some of its bragging rights in comparison to some competing tablet OS systems include its Flash support and sleek look. As can be expected, this is something that we will explore in detail once we get our hands on one.
The dual-core 1GHz processing (which the company claims will make the PlayBook the fastest tablet PC on the market) as well as the ability to play 1080p HD video are further aspects of the PlayBook that entice us. The ability to use videoconferencing, as well as seamlessly integrate your current BlackBerry smartphone with the new PlayBook to share contacts and content, as well as the ability to hook up your smartphone to your PlayBook and view it through the screen are also part of the tablet's designed appeal to the business set. In comparison to competitor tablet PCs like the Dell Streak or the Samsung Tab, which look to have been streamlined more toward the casual user and adaptable for entertainment and media use, the PlayBook's key features are certain to appeal to the professional user looking for a better way to view and store their business contacts and messaging. This seems like a smart choice, given that the expected price tag may be a bit high for the casual user in the market for a cheap tablet PC to buy in lieu of an iPad.
What We Like
- 7-inch screen, making it more convenient and portable than the iPad
- 1GB RAM
- 1GHz processor
- 1080hp video playback capabilities
- Playbook-specific BlackBerry OS, designed from scratch
- Flash support
- Compatible for integration with BlackBerry smartphone
- HD video playback/recording
- WiFi capable
- Front and rear facing cameras
What We Don't Like
- At just about 1 pound, still a bit bulkier than competitors like the Dell Streak
- Inferior battery life compared to iPad, as to be expected from Flash and HD capabilities
- Hefty eventual price tag (again to be expected)
- Final product storage capacity (to be determined, maybe next spring?)
- Expected release (not announced as of writing, and could come too late to compete)
As is the case with many of the new tablet PCs emerging on the market, the BlackBerry PlayBook was designed to exploit the flaws of the iPad and attempt to wrest control of the market from Apple. While the specs of the device are impressive to say the least, and ensure that the PlayBook should at least draw some attention away from the iPad, the price, release, and specs that we don’t know about are enough to make us hesitate from crowning the PlayBook as the new heir to the tablet PC market, as well as the new hot tablet to buy. We will keep you updated on the BlackBerry PlayBook and how it stands in comparison to competitor tablet computers as we know more.