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Remember the "will they or won't they" rumors? What has materialized out of them is Research In Motion's formal announcement of the BlackBerry-themed PlayBook tablet device.

A Look Inside RIM's PlayBook

The announcement not only filled out the details of what we now know about the famed device, but it gave context to the audience RIM to which aims to market. The PlayBook was reportedly referred to as the world's "first enterprise-ready tablet" by RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, who said it would "amplify" the company's smartphones.

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The PlayBook's navigation screen is fairly simple, but offers a variety of enterprise-ready features like multi-tasking and video conferencing.

  • Name: the PlayBook
  • Date of Release: 1Q or 2Q of 2011
  • Size: seven-inch multi-touch capacitive screen; 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches; 0.9 pounds
  • Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 resolution
  • Operating system: QNX OS with on-screen virtual keyboard
  • Connectivity: WiFi with 3G through the user's existing BlackBerry service plan.
  • Multitasking: Yes, with the ability to run applications
  • Processing: 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM
  • Components: a pair of embedded cameras: 3 megapixels in the front, 5 megapixels in the back; video conferencing capabilities; Browser supported Adobe Flash and HTML5, and high-definition video; out-of-the-box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server; micro USB and micro HDMI ports; 1080p HD video; H.264, MPEG4, WMV HDMI video output
  • Price: N/A

What Stands Out

We noted that the RIM’s new tablet would have to offer something remarkable in order to really stand out in a marketplace filled with competitors. The PlayBook doesn’t disappoint. Unlike the Apple iPad, the PlayBook offers micro USB and micro HDMI ports, dual cameras and support for Adobe Flash 10.1. However, it’s too soon to say if that’s enough to strike fear in the heart of Apple.

On one hand, the iPad has been successful despite not having these features. Yet, on the other hand, those who were holding out may be swayed by these kinds of features. Let’s remember, however, that the iPad isn’t trying to be a mini-computer --they left off some of these features intentionally. Which is why the PlayBook may be popular within the enterprise more so than the iPad is, but less so with regular consumers.

What it lacks in (screen) size, it may make up with the functionality it provides to the enterprise. In RIM’s case, the PlayBook is more than a BlackBerry and almost a PC. Let's just hope the battery life can hold its own.  The real test will be its price, which is still unknown. The beauty of the iPad is its affordability. If RIM is smart, they will follow suit.

Interested? If so, get on the list. RIM is taking names and hoping to kick a little, well, you know.