Canadian device manufacturer Research In Motion (RIM) jumped on the tablet bandwagon on Tuesday, unveiling the BlackBerry PlayBook at its developer conference in San Francisco.
Initially targeted at the large and small enterprise space (much like the original BlackBerry) the PlayBook panders to the increasingly popular tablet/slate form factor, at less than half an inch thick and weighing less than a pound, with a seven inch high resolution display running at 1024 x 600.
The device is fueled by a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), and wifi. RIM has already said it will make 3G and 4G models available in the future.
The PlayBook also marks the introduction of the BlackBerry Tablet OS, which is built on the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture, described by RIM as “one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures in the world”. Neutrino has a good reputation as an embedded devices OS and QNX was acquired by RIM in April of this year.
The OS supports WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java, and BlackBerry Enterprise Server out of the box.
The Tablet OS will also support the newly announced BlackBerry WebWorks app platform, which will allow apps to be written to run on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets as well as BlackBerry smartphones based on BlackBerry 6.
An SDK of the tablet OS is planned for release “in the coming weeks,” while the PlayBook itself is expected to be available in the US in early 2011 with rollouts in other international markets beginning in the second quarter of next year.
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