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RIM (news, site) prepares to launch its PlayBook in an enterprise environment that is changing by the day. Has it got the power and backing to halt Blackberry's apparent decline?

Learning the PlayBook

The Blackberry PlayBook is getting a lot of exposure ahead of its launch on April 19, and as an enterprise 2.0 darling, could do a lot to revitalize RIM's place in the mobile market. We've already seen today that RIM and Blackberry are still at the heart of many enterprises, but the market is changing so quickly that RIM finds a lot riding on the PlayBook.

For a start, the BBC reports that the company has sunk a lot of cash into developing the new 7-inch tablet, which comes with a new OS, and has lowered its profit guidance, causing its share value to drop. While that may just be a short-term issue, PlayBook will have to perform well.

RIM thinks that won't be a problem, claiming that it has companies looking to buy tens of thousands of units, which highlights the company's business-centric approach, while Apple and Android often creep into businesses via users' back pockets.

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Blackberry's PlayBook aims to challenge the new iPad and Android tablets

Tangled Tablets

The PlayBook has gone some way to opening up its pages by offering Android 2.3 compatibility, making a range of apps available. However, it won't be able to use any of the Android 3.0 tablet-specific apps, which might count against it.

For Blackberry-specific apps, the new QNX-based operating system gives developers another system to develop for. Enterprise-focused developers probably won't mind the effort, especially as it will power the next generation of Blackberry phones, due in 2012.

With a Flash-supporting browser, security-conscious OS and other enterprise-friendly features, PlayBook has the pedigree to dominate the enterprise space and put a spring in RIM's step, but it faces mighty competition in the form of the iPad 2 and those Android 3.0 tablets.