RIM (Research In Motion) gave us the opportunity to get up front and personal with their new BlackBerry PlayBook and I must say I was impressed by the speed and user interface. The 7” LCD screen is completely touch sensitive. This includes the borders of the screen, which lack physical buttons on the front. This is going to give the PlayBook a lot of flexibility with controls on the screen border.
The multitasking was very fast and responsive allowing for seamless transitions between running applications. Unlike the multitasking the iPad uses this actually keeps the application running. So that web page you started to load will continue to load as you open the media player to change playlists.
The PlayBooks multitasking also allows audio to be in the background, so while watching a video your able to change over to another application leaving the video streaming and the audio running in the background.
The PlayBook has complete Adobe Flash integration which allows for a near desktop web experience. Adobe AIR is also supported which will bring a wide variety of apps to the platform quickly.
The BlackBerry PlayBook has an impressive front facing camera that is 3 megapixels and the rear camera is 5 megapixels proving crisp pictures in a variety of lighting conditions.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) on the BlackBerry PlayBook mimics your BlackBerry smartphone messages. I think that might be an issue for some who want a device specific PIN but a luxury for those wanting to fully use the PlayBook as an extension of their BlackBerry smartphone.
A RIM representative told us that the Playbook would come in under $500 dollars so we are guessing $499 from Sprint, which is in line with other off-contract tablet devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
RIM has been slow compared to other developers when keeping up with mobile technology, but I feel the BlackBerry PlayBook is going to be a breath of fresh air for them in 2011 and hopefully sparks some innovation in their smartphone phone lineup.
A photo gallery is available below.
For more information on the Playbook you can follow this link to RIM’s official BlackBerry PlayBook information site. You can also signup to get updates on the PlayBook and other devices.