First Look at the Blackberry Playbook

Months of conceptualization and dedication have really paid off for Research in Motion, creator of the famous BlackBerry, as they finally release what might just be the Apple iPad’s newest rival in the Tablet PC industry.

Think of the Playbook as a slightly smaller iPad and you’ve pretty much pictured what it looks like. RIM did a good job importing some of the iPad’s makeup, only 30% smaller and 40% lighter. Add that to the Playbook’s two-way camera and USB and HDMI ports, and you’ve got a remake of the iPad based on people’s criticisms on Apple’s famous device.

In fact, RIM’s Playbook doesn’t have the typical physical keyboard that most smartphones have. In its place is the very familiar on-screen keyboard that iPad users have gotten used to so much. It somehow goes to show how much of a stretch Apple’s influence really is.

The Playbook doesn’t use the Blackberry OS as well. Instead, it has a special OS developed by RIM’s recent acquisition, the Canadians QNX. The OS is well known for its creative interface that adds a fun flavor to all its functions.

Unsurprisingly, this interface has a very similar feel with the iPad, except that you’ll notice that it made some improvements. For instance, it features multitasking support. It also uses the same WebKit system the iPad has but with the added Adobe Flash, giving the device an edge by granting Playbook users access to a host of online video and interactive games that Apple tablet users won’t be getting much of yet.

It seems that if RIM intends to learn from Apple’s “mistakes”, it’s doing a really good job at it. Now that it’s replaced the classic BlackBerry Applications for something more Flash friendly, it’s going to welcome an entire host of developers who were once shunned away by Apple when they banned Flash applications from the iPad once upon a time.

Playbook has Wi-Fi as well. Its 3G connection however, can only be accessed via Blackberry. This allows you to not only access the internet, but to synchronize your two devices as well.

So far RIM has estimated 2011’s first quarter as their release date in the US. Europe, on the other hand, is supposedly getting their share in the following quarter. Without saying anything official, they’re trying to keep the unit as low cost as possible, but most experienced consumers say that it might run around the £350-399 if you think of the markets where they’re going to be competing in.

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