The Blackberry Playbook by Research in Motion (RIM) was announced on the 27th of September 2010. It was launched in the United States on 19th April 2011 and in the United Kingdom on 16th June 2011. The Playbook is Blackberry's direct response to competition such as the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It is the first tablet to be released by RIM and runs the new QNX operating system. It has a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of RAM and storage will be made available in 16GB, 32Gb and 64GB. The playbook is 9.7mm thick and weighs at 425g which is lighter than it's closest rival the iPad 2 weighing in at 607g. The LCD display is 7 inches with landscape or portrait orientation control. It has a screen resolution of 1024 x 600 giving a great user experience. The primary back camera is 5 megapixel and supports HD video recording with the front-facing camera at 3 megapixel.
The Playbook contains all the features you would expect from a Blackberry device such as push email and all of the security encryption. It supports true advanced multi-tasking with the ability to run multiple apps at once. The high performance multimedia capabilities of the playbook will blow you away. It can handle heavy applications all running together without any problems. You can play a game on one task screen, watch a YouTube video on the other, surf the web on a third and the list goes on. One impressive feature is the way it is possible to stream content directly through the web browser unlike similar products that rely on an a separate application. The Playbook is fully compatible with Flash 10.2 and thanks to its high performance processor can handle flash games and videos with ease. Gestures are used to make navigation as quick as possible. With lots of sliding on the finder to switch between windows and open and close applications.
The Playbook comes with Built in 8.2.11n WiFi for connecting to the internet, stereo speakers for enjoying a high quality sound performance and a HDMI-out for connecting to an external HD capable device. VPN is also supported which allows your blackberry playbook to act as a virtual desktop when WiFi is connected. A tethering technology known as bridge mode allows users to pair up the playbook with their Blackberry handset. From there it is possible to access emails and contacts along with pictures, videos and music. When paired the Playbook can run though a Blackberry handsets mobile 3G or GPRS internet if no WiFi hotspot is accessible. Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is dependent on bridge mode as the Playbook has no PIN. The down side is if you don't own a Blackberry handset then you have no way of connecting to the internet besides WiFi and no use of Blackberry Messenger. This can be a real issue for anyone who has not fully researched the product before buying.
One key issue with Blackberry devices includes the playbook is the lack of apps compared to the competition. With the Playbook and QNX being such new products the range of native JAVA apps available is minuscule compared to other tablets on the market. RIM needs to produce more apps for the Playbook as the current selection is limited. A powerful selling factor in the Playbook's favor is the compatibility with Android apps. When I say Android apps I don't mean all entire Android market but more in the way a selection. The fact that Android apps require modification in order to run on QNX means that their availability will likely be trickled out gradually.
The Playbook has a very minimalistic design with a plain slate appearance from the back. A small chrome style blackberry logo is placed in the middle which I have to admit does make it look very professional if not slightly under dressed. It comes with an attractive free leather sleeve that screams out the words high-end product.
Something that came as a real surprise was that not long after launch, RIM announced they have reduced their forecast sales target by over half from a projected 2.4 million units down to around 800000. This is obviously largely due to the low sales performance which is even more shocking with the price for the Playbook being so low. That said, the Blackberry Playbook will no doubt be a real god send to Blackberry enthusiasts. It combines high performance with a true professionalism. It is clear that RIM has multiple target markets for this device with a clear and obvious appeal to business professionals. With the playbook being priced so low even a student can afford. With the continuing success of most Blackberry handsets to the young market who knows.