Once an industry darling, Research in Motion (RIM), the company that makes BlackBerry devices, has lately been navigating stormy seas. RIM’s market share has fallen in key markets like the US thanks to smartphones powered by a visibly aging OS and almost obsolete hardware specs when compared with other top-of-the-line competitors. The BlackBerry PlayBook is supposed to be RIM’s saviour, not only launching RIM into the red-hot tablet market, but also powered by the all-new QNX OS, as well as boasting of some great hardware specs. And not too far in the future QNX is also supposed to come to a whole new spiffy generation of BlackBerry smartphones.
It's finally here
The BlackBerry PlayBook launched in the US in April 2011 and today will be available in India. We’ve had a review unit of the PlayBook for a little over a week and here are our impressions on RIM’s big hope.
Connectivity options along the edge of the Playbook
Our review unit came with 16GB of internal memory and 1GB RAM, but 32 and 64GB versions are available. There’s no support for microSD cards or SIM cards. The only buttons are located on the top of the device and considering the width of the PlayBook is just 10mm, the buttons are tiny, but adequate. One button switches the device on and off and the other three are volume control/scroll/media buttons. At the bottom the PlayBook has a microUSB slot for charging and tethering to a PC as well as an HDMI port that allows you to directly play movies or presentations on compatible displays, and a port for docking the PlayBook. On either side of the screen are high-quality stereo speakers. There’s a stereo microphone on the top left corner and a 3.5mm audio jack on the top right corner. The PlayBook comes with 2 cameras—a 3 MP 1080p HD ready forward-facing camera and a 5 MP 1080p HD ready rear-facing camera.
Unboxing the Blackberry Playbook
While the PlayBook is definitely more portable compared to 10-inch tablets like the iPad2, Moto Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10 or the upcoming HP TouchPad, it won’t exactly fit into your pocket. Granted, it slides into the back pockets of my jeans like the 7-inch Galaxy Tab (and the PlayBook’s so much slimmer), but it’s not a great feeling carrying it around and besides if you ever try it while travelling in public transport you can say goodbye to your tablet faster than you can say PlayBook. But when you’re travelling cattle class on a packed flight, it’s definitely more usable as compared to its 10-inch brethren.
Neatly laid out home screen
When you add a 1GHz dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU to the mix, the result is blazing performance. So, you have jaw-dropping multitasking capabilities where you can have an HD video, the web browser or games and more open and scroll between all these windows and have the feature you click on start playing instantly. Eg, you can have a video from the PlayBook playing on your TV through an HDMI cable while you surf the Net. Whether this is really practical (you’d need a long cable indeed!) and whether anyone really wants to do this in the real world is a question RIM fails to answer.
Very limited applications on the new platform
BlackBerry PlayBook: Great Tablet, But Not Much to Play With
Tablets , RIM , BlackBerry PlayBook , PlayBook , BlackBerry , Touchscreen , 5 megapixle , 3 Megapixel , QNX OS , QNX , BlackBerry Bridge , BBM , BlackBerry Messenger , HD Video Recording , HD Video , tethering , Dual Core Processor , Dual Core
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