Research In Motion has previewed a new PlayBook web tablet that represents the biggest potential challenge yet to Apple’s red-hot iPad. The mobile device will offer support for capabilities unavailable on the iPad today, including enterprise-friendly features such as two-way video conferencing and the seamless pairing of the new tablet with BlackBerry smartphones, as well as providing access to web-based Adobe Flash and AIR multimedia.
The PlayBook will be equipped with a one-gigahertz dual-core processor and powered by the QNX Neutrino operating system that the BlackBerry maker acquired earlier this year. Though the tablet won’t become available for purchase until early 2011, its feature set “looks to be strong relative to what the market will have in that time frame,” said Al Hilwa, director of applications software development at IDC.
An Enterprise-Class Tablet
Beyond appealing to consumers, RIM thinks the PlayBook will gain traction in the enterprise space because of its out-of-box compatibility with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which provides mobile workers at many companies with secure access to corporate data. The tablet also has two cameras for two-way business videoconferencing: A three-megapixel front-facing camera and a five-megapixel rear camera.
Both cameras will be capable of recording high-definition video at a maximum resolution of 1080p, while Apple’s iPad does not have a camera. Additionally, the PlayBook will sport an HDMI output for connecting to external high-definition displays and recorders.
By pairing the PlayBook with BlackBerry smartphones, users will be able to access work documents, calendars, spreadsheets and other sensitive files over a secure Bluetooth connection. The link also will enable the PlayBook to serve as a bigger monitor for small-screen BlackBerry phones.
This would give BlackBerry users a far better reading and browsing experience when surfing the web or accessing e-mail, documents and other files, Hilwa observed. Additionally, BlackBerry owners will be able to use…