New OS for PlayBook Could Bring RIM’s Mojo Back

While some manufacturers are still talking about rolling out an iPad killer, Research in Motion is making a bold move into the tablet market with the BlackBerry PlayBook, featuring the BlackBerry Tablet OS. RIM hopes its seven-inch touchscreen tablet with features like web browsing, multitasking, high-performance multimedia, security, enterprise support, and a new development platform will draw consumers and business users.

Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s president and co-CEO, said the company set out to “engineer the best professional-grade tablet in the industry.” The PlayBook features a one-gigahertz
dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, dual HD cameras, video and audio playback, HDMI video output, both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and support for a wide range of software. But analysts doubt it’s an iPad killer any more than the BlackBerry is an iPhone killer.

Breakthrough OS

The PlayBook is less than half an inch thick and weighs less than a pound. RIM keeps pushing the “true multitasking” button. Some users have complained that Apple’s iOS 4 still does not offer this capability. RIM isn’t relying on its handset operating system for the PlayBook, but instead turned to the QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture to support the BlackBerry Tablet OS.

Neutrino is used to support applications in everything from planes, trains and automobiles to medical equipment and the largest core routers that run the Internet. RIM figures it’s secure enough for a professional-grade tablet. Developers can build applications in Adobe Mobile AIR and the BlackBerry WebWorks app platform RIM announced Monday. The tablet also supports Java-based apps.

“RIM didn’t show off the user interface at all. They didn’t talk about what software or services would come with the device. They didn’t talk about pricing,” said Avi Greengart, an analyst at Current Analysis. “What they did talk about was the operating system. That is actually the most interesting part because RIM has been criticized…

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