BlackBerry PlayBook gets official launch

As widely rumoured, RIM has launched a tablet, going by the name of the BlackBerry PlayBook. Just don't expect it to hook up to your mobile network too easily.

Unveiled at the DevCon 2010 event in San Francisco, the wannabe iPad beater offers up a 1024 x 600, WSVGA 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage and two cameras - a 3-megapixel front facing one and a 5-megapixel rear camera, with the option of capturing HD video footage in 1080p too. All of that in a device just 10mm thick. Impressive stuff.

Other features of note include Wi-Fi connectivity, HDMI and USB slots plus the the ability to run Flash 10.1 and cope with HTML 5. The operating system isn't the recently-released BlackBerry OS 6, but a new QNX-based platform. Don't worry though, all current BlackBerry apps will play nicely with it right now, with other PlayBook-specific apps to follow. Indeed, Amazon has already announced a Kindle app for the new tablet.

That's all well and good, but what about mobile connectivity, when you happen be outside of your chosen Wi-Fi zone? That's the tricky part, at least for now. You can connect to 3G via a BlackBerry smartphone, but that's far from ideal. If it's an issue, RIM did say it will be bringing out 3G-compatible tablets in the future, but didn't comfirm when.

Who knows, by the time the device lands in the UK, those 3G tablets might be a reality. After all, it's not launching here until the second quarter of 2011, which is a good six months away. That distant launch date might also account for a lack of pricing from RIM. More on that when we have it.

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