Today at Research In Motion's annual BlackBerry Developer Conference, CEO Mike Lazaridis announced the company's new tablet -- the PlayBook. The tablet will utilize an OS created by the recently acquired QNX (just as we'd heard previous to the announcement) called the BlackBerry Tablet OS which will offer full OpenGL and POSIX support alongside web standards such as HTML5 (which is all tied into RIM's new WebWorks SDK). Lazaridis was joined on stage by the company's founder, Dan Dodge, who said that "QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before," and added that the PlayBook would be "an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players." RIM also touted the PlayBook's ability to handle Flash content via Flash 10.1, as well as Adobe AIR apps. The new slate -- which Lazaridis described as "the first professional tablet" -- will sport a 7-inch, 1024 x 600, capacitive multitouch display, a Cortex A9-based, dual-core 1GHz CPU (the company calls it the "fastest tablet ever"), 1GB of RAM, and a 3 megapixel front-facing camera along with a 5 megapixel rear lens (and yes, there will be video conferencing). There was no mention of onboard storage capacity during the keynote, though the devices we just spied in our eyes-on post are labeled 16GB and 32GB on their back panels. The PlayBook will be capable of 1080p HD video, and comes equipped with an HDMI port as well as a microUSB jack, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth 2.1. The device clocks in at a svelte 5.1- by 7.6-inches, is only 0.4-inches thick, and weighs just 400g (or about 0.9 pounds).
In terms of interface, the OS looks like a mashup of webOS and the BlackBerry OS, even allowing for multitasking via what amounts to a "card" view. Interestingly, RIM and QNX boasted of the PlayBook's multimedia and gaming functions, but Mike Lazaridis also described the tablet as "an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry." That's due largely in part to a function of the tablet which allows you to siphon data off of your BlackBerry handset via Bluetooth tethering and display it on your PlayBook (a la the ill-fated Palm Foleo). While the PlayBook doesn't seem to rely on phone content alone, the press release from the company says that users can "use their tablet and smartphone interchangeably without worrying about syncing or duplicating data." RIM didn't hand out any solid launch dates beyond "early 2011," and of course, there was no mention of retail price. We've got a slew of content after the break, including the PlayBook spec rundown, the company's press release, and a full video of the device (and UI) in action -- so take a look!
7-inch LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
1 GHz dual-core processor
1 GB RAM
Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
HDMI video output
Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
Ultra thin and portable:
Measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
Show full PR text
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA--(Marketwire - 09/27/10) - BlackBerry DEVCON 2010 -
Editors Note: There is a video and two photos available with this Press Release.
Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM - News)(TSX:RIM - News) today redefined the possibilities for mobile computing with the unveiling of its new professional-grade BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet and BlackBerry® Tablet OS.
Perfect for either large organizations or an "army of one", the BlackBerry PlayBook is designed to give users what they want, including uncompromised web browsing, true multitasking and high performance multimedia, while also providing advanced security features, out-of-the-box enterprise support and a breakthrough development platform for IT departments and developers. The incredibly powerful and innovative BlackBerry PlayBook is truly a game-changing product in the growing tablet marketplace.
"RIM set out to engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry with cutting-edge hardware features and one of the world's most robust and flexible operating systems," said Mike Lazaridis, President and Co-CEO at Research In Motion. "The BlackBerry PlayBook solidly hits the mark with industry leading power, true multitasking, uncompromised web browsing and high performance multimedia."
The Tablet You'll Want to Take Everywhere
This beautifully designed and incredibly powerful tablet is ultra portable, ultra thin and super convenient for both work and play. Measuring less than half an inch thick and weighing less than a pound, the BlackBerry PlayBook features a vivid 7" high resolution display that looks and feels great in your hand. With such a unique mix of utility, performance and portability, you'll want to take it everywhere.
The New Benchmark in Tablet Performance
At its heart, the BlackBerry PlayBook is a multitasking powerhouse. Its groundbreaking performance is jointly fueled by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and the new BlackBerry Tablet OS which supports true symmetric multiprocessing. Together, the abundant processing power and highly sophisticated OS enable the BlackBerry PlayBook to provide users with true multitasking and a highly-responsive and fluid touch screen experience for apps and content services.
Uncompromised Web Browsing
With support for Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1, Adobe® Mobile AIR® and HTML-5, the BlackBerry PlayBook provides customers with an uncompromised, high-fidelity web experience and offers them the ability to enjoy all of the sites, games and media on the web. For more than a decade, the mobile industry has worked to bridge the gap between the "real web" and mobile devices through various apps and technologies and, in fact, a significant number of mobile apps today still simply serve as a proxy for web content that already exists on the web. The BlackBerry PlayBook closes that gap and brings the real, full web experience to mobile users while also opening new and more exciting opportunities for developers and content publishers.
High Performance Multimedia
The BlackBerry PlayBook features premium multimedia features to support high-quality mobile experiences. It includes dual HD cameras for video capture and video conferencing that can both record HD video at the same time, and an HDMI-out port for presenting one's creations on external displays. The BlackBerry PlayBook also offers rich stereo sound and a media player that rivals the best in the industry.
For those BlackBerry PlayBook users who carry a BlackBerry smartphone(i), it will also be possible to pair their tablet and smartphone using a secure Bluetooth® connection. This means they can opt to use the larger tablet display to seamlessly and securely view any of the email, BBM™, calendar, tasks, documents and other content that resides on (or is accessible through) their smartphone. They can also use their tablet and smartphone interchangeably without worrying about syncing or duplicating data. This secure integration of BlackBerry tablets and smartphones is a particularly useful feature for those business users who want to leave their laptop behind.
Thanks to the seamless and secure Bluetooth pairing experience and the highly secure underlying OS architecture, the BlackBerry PlayBook is enterprise ready and compatible (out-of-the-box) with BlackBerry® Enterprise Server. When connected over Bluetooth, the smartphone content is viewable on the tablet, but the content actually remains stored on the BlackBerry smartphone and is only temporarily cached on the tablet (and subject to IT policy controls). With this approach to information security, IT departments can deploy the BlackBerry PlayBook to employees out-of-the-box without worrying about all the security and manageability issues that arise when corporate data is stored on yet another device.
QNX Neutrino Reliability
The BlackBerry Tablet OS is built upon the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel architecture, one of the most reliable, secure and robust operating system architectures in the world. Neutrino has been field hardened for years and is being used to support mission-critical applications in everything from planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment and the largest core routers that run the Internet. The new BlackBerry Tablet OS leverages and builds upon the many proven strengths of this QNX Neutrino architecture to support a professional grade tablet experience and to redefine the possibilities for mobile computing.
An OS Built for Developers
The Neutrino based microkernel architecture in the BlackBerry Tablet OS delivers exceptional performance, high scalability, Common Criteria EAL 4+ security, and support for industry standard tools that are already familiar to hundreds of thousands of developers. The OS is fully POSIX compliant enabling easy portability of C-based code, supports Open GL for 2D and 3D graphics intensive applications like gaming, and will run applications built in Adobe Mobile AIR as well as the new BlackBerry® WebWorks™ app platform announced today (which will allow apps to be written to run on BlackBerry PlayBook tablets as well as BlackBerry smartphones with BlackBerry® 6). The BlackBerry Tablet OS will also support Java enabling developers to easily bring their existing BlackBerry 6 Java applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment.
Key features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook include:
-- 7" LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch
and gesture support
-- BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
-- 1 GHz dual-core processor
-- 1 GB RAM
-- Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD
-- Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
-- Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
-- HDMI video output
-- Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n
-- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
-- Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
-- Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5,
Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL,
-- Ultra thin and portable:
-- Measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
-- Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
-- Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will
be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail
-- RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to be available in retail outlets and other channels in the United States in early 2011 with rollouts in other international markets beginning in (calendar) Q2.
RIM will begin working with developers and select corporate customers next month to begin development and early testing efforts.
The BlackBerry Tablet OS SDK is planned for release in the coming weeks and developers can register for early access at www.blackberry.com/developers/tabletos.
For more information, visit www.blackberry.com/playbook.