BlackBerry announces 7-inch PlayBook tablet, iPad competition heats up

BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

RIM has just announced their iPad tablet competitor, the BlackBerry PlayBook. They're marketing it as the world's first professional table and the specs look great, almost as though it was specifically designed to counter-program the iPad:

  • 7-inch screen
  • 1GHz dual-core processor (or is it 2GHz Cortex A9?)
  • 1080p video with HDMI out
  • Front and rear cameras
  • HMTL5 and Flash 10.1
  • BES support (of course)
  • Up to 1GB of RAM (?)
  • Built on QNX OS

Check out the video after the break and via the link below for ongoing coverage straight from Dev Con, and let us know what you think. Is Apple finally in trouble in the very space they created?


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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

BlackBerry announces 7-inch PlayBook tablet, iPad competition heats up


It is too small at 7" in my opinion and it is all about the Apps, Apple have a major head start here, can't see it being too much of a problem.

Finally, some real competition to the iPad. This will force Apple to keep their game up which will end up being a win for me.

@Chris the apps don't matter that much. This will sell like crazy and will be quite big in the business world. RIM don't need Flight Control HD to move units.

If it actually works like the video shows, then Apple has some competition. If it actually works like the HP Slate videos that have been circulating, Apple has nothing to worry about.

@Rick I don't agree at all, It may sell in the business world but Apps are critical, RIM know that too and that is why they are also launching the BlackBerry Enterprise Application Development Platform. I never mentioned games.

Does anyone actually think it will be as good / slick as portrayed within the video. The last official video I saw from RIM regarding BBOS6 made it look amazing, but in reality, it was rubbish. This will be the same. Being a crackberry addict for longer than I can remember, this will be another product way behind the offerings of Apple or anybody else. I love my iPhone and iPad and wouldnt trade them for anything...

Looks lovely. But apps might be the sticking point. And the price. This looks expensive. At the end o the day competition is healthy and means everyone needs to up the anti.
Still think the iPad will win as an entertainment device with iTunes and the app store.

This looks impossibly good! I am honestly quite shocked that RIM has announced something that looks that good so soon. Makes me wonder when it will be released.

RIM, like Microsoft, is still desperately clutching their installed base, who desperately wish they could escape and desperately hope for a Hail Mary rescue. Ain't gonna happen. It's over for them.

With Apple's extensive experience with Exposé, Dashboard, and Spaces I am still baffled as to why iPad doesn't nod that way. The certainly are stingy about adding gestures.
And while Apple poops along slowly with yearly updates, it seems that competitors are 'skating to where the puck is going to be' more adeptly.
I am a fan of QNX as an OS, but seeing that I LOATHE the BES and RIMs networks I might have to pass. Also considering I love my Apps, makes sense to move with Apple.
Now only if Apple can pick up the pace. Wow us, people!

This looks amazing. But would you need a berry to be connected? If so not so good for rim. For now this looks 10 times better then the current iPad. But let's wait and see what apple brings out.

@sheriknetChris, I think yearly refreshes are a good pace, gives you a solid year with your device before it's outdated, therefor eliminating buyers remorse.. My roomate bought the Droid 2 soon after launch, just to find out that not a full month later, they were discontinuing his model and making the world model with a 1.2 ghz processor.. I'd be frankly pissed if apple did this to their faithful.

This looks great coupled with RIM's new move to NOT using it's networks to compress data over wi-fi it would be just as fast as the iPad in loading websites. If they bring BBM to this WITH HD Video Chatting..... I'm leaving for for good lol

It ha wi-fi b/g/n so u connect directly to the net. Until they release the 3G/4G version you can use your blackberry phone and tether to the net that way. Or tether your BB to work with contacts/info that's on it. I
nternet wise, wi-fi only or tethered for now

@Gino thanks for the iPhone. My concern was that when I using bb if you didn't have. Have a bb plan nothing worked. Lol. It's good to see this from rim. I'm going to keep a close eye on it and maybe pick one up after the hands on reviews come in.

Whoa! That so puts the iPad to shame! But if they wanted this device to be geared for professional use, why would they call it PlayBook? Wouldn't WorkBook be better? LOL! :D

Great commercial but I agree with previous comments I just don't understand why competitors are going smaller screens when they are getting close to phone size. I suppose with their background they still could do good in the business field I just think 7 inch is to small for me to want to carry with my smartphone. further more i think a lot of companies other then apple miss the point of the tablet to be a extension not a end all for consuming and producing content. I want to my tweaks on a spreadsheet before giving it to my boss or add some pictures to a flyer before printing at church etc i dont want to actually work on this over a laptop its a bummer because i think it could have been better and you would look ridicules taking pictures with it.

Specs can be as great as they want, even better than the iPad, but it doesn't matter because the iPad (along with most other Apple devices) don't need as much power because they don't have speed issues and are actually well managed....

I don't see why they didn't make that just a phone. For taking notes, typing and getting work done, I really don't see how that will be helpful. I see how it would work and make a great companion for Blackberry devices because of the limits on those devices. But i don't see how this will help business users above reading email and surfing, oh and watching videos. But if you HAVE to purchase a keyboard or use the smart phone to type comfortably I don't see it moving beyond novelty...until they develop one with a larger screen.

Please, nobody buy this POS if it ever makes it out of their infernal womb. Just pull the plug and let RIM die with what little dignity they have left. They served their purpose in the history of smartphones, but it's just getting really sad now.

Apple needs to step it up on the iPad 2. A front facing camera is necessary but not the rear. Other than that the Retina display and HDMI out would be real nice.

Why build crap? iPad = crap. Competition to iPad = crap. Why would one buy a giant (not fully featured) iPhone for the same price as buying a laptop? Only an iDiot would do that. It's only apealing to computer illiterates such as Mac users and ppl who do not know how to use computers and think iPad is a computer. O I forget those losers who have no life that sit at starbucks all day reading on their macs or ipads. Booooohoo.

Not bad. Of course, we've seen through the tech industry, that being "first" to the game does not a tablet sell. Apple tends to not be the first to the game, but they tend to get the experience of the average consumer. I wish them well on this and I think it'll make Apple's products that much better.

All I have to say is I love Apple products but they better kick it into high gear because the competition is on its way.

"Uncompromised" web browsing. Yeah. I do miss Flash occasionally.
I ain't adopting that platform, baby, but I do appreciate the competition.

@Rick: The apps don't matter much? I are kidding me? iPhone and iPad are extremely popular just because of the apps. If it wasn't for the apps I would have dumped my iPhone and gotten an Android device right now. There is no way I will pay $500+ for a device that can do little more than out of the box functionality. BlackBerry phones have very few apps, and the ones they do have are extremely low quality compared to what you get on iOS and Android. You will have fewer apps for Playbook. What would be the drive for me to get this again?

Blackberry will do well with this. It is geared toward the business community. Bigger screen would be nice. As stated by others, competition is good. I have always believed Apple could do more with the iPad in the business area. It was like "it can do this, and that" , but it is like they threw in iworks at the last minuet. I reall think we will see a new era of devices for all to be happy with. It was not that long ago when a CPU was the size of a washing machine.

Release date? Didn't see it.
Pricing? Didn't see it.
Note to RIM/HP/HTC/etc - you are not competing with the iPad until people can actually buy your stuff.

Seriously, why even comment in the thread if you have no clue what you are talking about?
Go out and get some sun, enjoy life!

Looks great, but so did the HP slate and look where it ended up. Competition is always good especially the HDMI, front/rear camera, and 1080p specs. I'll stick to my IP4 and iPad :)
@CJ don't be a hater, there's room for everyone in this crazy smartphone/tablets/laptops world.

Stoked for this
All it means is REAL competition for Apple and no chance for them to rest on their laurels, not that they'd have any thought of doing so, especially since they quote-on-quote created this Market
The spec list looks impressive for a first effort, especially for a 7inch tablet
I reckon it'll sell well even without the "apps" tag word
Blackberry are very good at they do and if they can add one or two media exponents to their package then they're onto a winner
Great for the consumer!

Although I definitely appreciate the competition I'm really not seeing how Blackberry is going to fit into this market. They probably should have branded this as something non-blackberry. I realize that Blackberry is there bread and butter but I just feel like this doesn't fit with their branding strategy at all. I would be extremely surprised to see this succeed as a casual gaming device.

@CJ. Hmm, where do I start? You are probably another anti - Apple tool bag with nothing better to do. You go and fire up your Windows based laptop and let me know when it is finally booted up. In the meantime I'll get a sandwich.
What is your definition of a computer in your tiny little brain? Is it making / editing Word, Excel and PP? Is it having the ability to print these documents? Play video? Email, web use? What else? Well, I do this every day on my iPad. What you may want to do is comment on something that you know about - let's say, maybe OWN. If not, keep that hole on your shoulders open to a minimum and everyone will be better off.
Let me guess....Windows 7 was your idea..........Dumbass!

I love my iPad but if this things performs the way it does in the video and with those specs it seems like it will, Apple will be WAY behind the curve. RIM's version of multitasking is 100x better than "multitasking" on iOS and the full web features as well as all the other specs are truly amazing! I can't believe this is a RIM product! Given that I used to be a BB fan this is exciting to see.

As a fan of all things gadget, and a long time supporter of blackberry this is a good look for blackberry and RIM. But one thing that I can't get over is that in the article there was a statement that said that apple created this market.this is way pass false and the writer should really be ashamed to say such a thing I guess no one here has where heard of archos which had at least to Tablets out before apple. I love my mac and my ipad but apple was not the first to do most what these writers say the are first to do.

The odd thing about the name is that is called a book, which in my mind is something that 'opens'. Then again 'pad' and 'tablet' are pretty unwieldy names to work with.

@pete if you were in buisness market you would know Playbook is a very business centric term. Good job on RIM for making it relevant in the business world.
This is a real blow to apple for the business side as it seems such a great device and very easy to carry around to meetings. This 'its about the apps' is kinda just silly, its not about the apps, majority of people don't care about downloading all the apps they need...they just need the core apps and they are set.

iPad wins... even IF they make a 10" Playbook.
Maybe Playbook is more professional and can do a lot more things than the iPad can. But on the other hand, iPad is made by Apple and so 1. They will attract a lot more consumers. 2. They have TONS of developers to make apps. So many developers are live on Apple, such as iFunia, a MAC video converter tools manufacturer, what awesome is they have being a strong link chain in the tablet industry.
The consumer market will stick with the iPad for now and long time in the future...

@Bob Marley. U think your iPad is as productive as a laptop. U must be a failure or high. I feel sorry for you. Wake up!!!! It's never too late!!!
I hate apple. I admit. But when it comes to products I don't discriminate companies. The iPhone is the best thing out there today when it comes to phones. But a Mac? Big no no. iPad? Dear lord what a waste.

So, this comes out that the exact time Apple will unveil iPad 2. I have to admit, the PlayBook looks good. I REALLY hope Apple adds HDMI out and front and rear cameras. I don't care about adobe flash, but it would be nice if there were a camera flash on the back. Also, I really hope that apple keeps the old iPad model in addition to a new 7" model. I've always said that I wish the iPad was smaller. Would be so nice to buy a iPad 2 7" with FaceTime front and rear cameras.

I'm a Crackberry. But i'm glad that some people here at Apple a little something about competition. I was getting annoyed by the fanboys that say that iPhone is better because Apple made it.
Just saying. Thank you for assuring my faith that Apple fanboys will not take over the world someday.

Very impressive. Looks like Apple has some real competition in the tablet market now! Let's hope RIM applies this OS technology to their phones to get Apple off their butts and back in the lab!

Looks Awesome, I was thinking of getting a slate for myself and I had my sight set on the upcoming iPad 7-inch but this looks like a pretty good one, but the size of developers on the app store makes me fall in love with apple. Oh god, gadgets these days get you so confused :|

I'm actually shocked that no one has commented that the video doesn't even show anyone actually USING the device! They show the screen demoed on surfaces of furniture and other objects but besides the guy taking a picture with it, they do not show the device being used! This sleigh-of-hand trick seems to have fooled you all but it hasn't escaped my eyes in the slightest. Why is Blackberry afraid to show this thing being used by a person? Anyone can cobble together a slideshow or video on how smoothly the device SHOULD operate but that doesn't show us how it REALLY operates, now does it?!

Notion Ink Adam > BlackBerry > FailPad
No but seriously, this looks kinda cool but it has some massive ugly borders around the usable screen. If they needed to make it that size couldn't they have just whacked a bigger screen in?

Dexter, you weren't the only one who noticed that, but if it makes you feel special don't let us rain on your parade.
You're right that it would be a good idea to show someone using it, but it's not available for sale until next year. They're hardly pressed at this point.
I see it like a movie teaser that might get you interested in a movie, but then a full-blown trailer, with more detail, comes out later...closer to the actual release date of the film.
They just announced it. Maybe there was a prototype demoed there. I'm gonna check out TWiT and see. Maybe you should do some Googling or Binging or whatever.

That tablet looks nice and smooth, I think it will feel more like a laptop than the iPad. I'm bored of the App world, that PlayBook seems to be more business and working tool than a App one.

@ CJ. Now your reading skills are off. Where did I mention the iPad was as productive as a laptop? Nowhere, correct? Again, it would be smart to comment on a device you actually own.....too much to ask? Yes, it does not do as much as a laptop does, but it is as convenient as hell. It does what it is intended to do, and the customer satisfaction rate on this device speaks for itself. Would not trade it for any other tablet device on the market......oh, forgot. There isn't any others on the market. And if you mention the HP Slate, then you have really lost it. These devises are only competing with the iPad when they are actually on the market. And yes, you do not own an iPad. Nuff said.
I'm sorry, maybe this is too much for a pinhead like you to handle.

If anyone thinks apple is far behind or even fearful of losing it's spot. think again..Apple is still comes first everyone else the time everyone else devices come out Ipad will be in generation 2 or 3 and then Apple will bring out the next thing..look at all the so-called touch phones and that whole 3g thing for sure I can always count on MAC

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