RIM launched its first ever tablet – the PlayBook – without the core features (email client or BBM) BlackBerry is famous for. The tablet is sold in the WiFi-only avatar which means that you won’t have always-on connectivity. Still, there are a lot of things to like about the Playbook. Here are a few.
BlackBerry Playbook quick specs
Display: 7 inch display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels
Operating system: BlackBerry Tablet OS
Processor: 1GHz dual core ARM-Cortex A9 processor
Graphics: Power VR SGX540 graphics
Storage: 16GB / 32GB / 64GB
Connectivity: Bluetooth, WiFi
Camera: 3 megapixel camera on the front side and 5 megapixel camera on the back side
Battery life: 8-10 hours
Excellent build quality
The tablet has excellent build quality. It looks and feels solid in your hand. Its rubberized back makes it easy to hold. The front-facing speakers look and sound good.
With its 7 inch display, the BlackBerry Playbook is ultraportable; you can almost put it in your pocket provided that you have unusually large pockets. The display is vivid and sharp and renders crisp images.
The tablet has a touch-sensitive wide bezel. Swipe a finger across the frame and you can wake the screen or launch menus.
Excellent video playback
The BlackBerry Playbook offers excellent video playback. It has a micro HDMI output port for transferring video to an external HDTV. The tablet can also record videos in 1080p resolution.
Excellent multitasking skills
The BlackBerry Playbook runs a QNX-based operating system that offers excellent support for multi-tasking. It is similar to the Palm webOS in many respects and works brilliantly. You can have multiple video windows playing simultaneously. Best of all, the tablet supports Adobe Flash which means that no part of the web is left untouched.
Currently only around 3000 apps are available for the tablet. Many of these are repurposed BB phone apps. On the bright side, RIM has announced that it is working on making the tablet compatible with Android apps. That compatibility won’t come until later this year though.
The tablet comes standard with pre-loaded apps for word processing, presentations and spreadsheets. However, there is no native email client on the PlayBook. You can access your email from your BlackBerry smartphone via Bluetooth. There is one problem, though: your phone needs to be held really close to the tablet.
The BlackBerry Playbook is an ultraportable tablet with a decent operating system. It isn’t perfect, but it is fun to play with. The biggest downer, at the moment, is the limited availability of apps for the platform. Fix that, and RIM can rest assured that it has a winner in hand.