Research in Motion, the company that produces BlackBerry smartphones, is set to release its own version of the tablet, called the PlayBook, on April 19. RIM’s take on the tablet is comparable to Apple’s iPad in size and price — but RIM’s version may have one big advantage over the competition: RIM products are already entrenched in business.
Following up on an earlier SmartVan post about reticent IT departments wary of iPad adoption because of security and control concerns, ComputerWorld’s Matt Hambien writes that the ability to tether the PlayBook tablet to Blackberry phones “gives IT more control of data and applications on the device,” potentially assuaging IT fears.
Although RIM had previously been mum on the tablet’s specs, it’s now understood that the touchscreen tablet will be available in three models: 16 GB ($499), 32 GB ($599) and 64 GB ($699).
CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone compares the PlayBook’s functionality to the iPad, highlighting several features, notably the ability to handle Flash video, that aren’t supported on the iPad or the new iPad 2. Pepitone writes:
The PlayBook is smaller than the iPad, with a 7-inch screen. It’s built around a new platform from QNX Software Systems, and it features Flash-capable video plus a front and rear high-definition camera. The PlayBook runs on a 1 GHz dual-core processor and includes 1 GB of RAM.
The PlayBook tablets are WiFi only and can only connect to 3G when tethered to a BlackBerry phone. The PlayBook’s two high definition camers — one on the front, one on the back — are a potentially useful feature for service technicians in the field.
The PlayBook will be available April 19 through a variety of retailers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Best Buy.