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The Blackberry Playbook

Nowadays, seems like the tablet market is the place to be. Every company that's even remotely involved in mobile computing is making one, and RIM(the company responsible for the Blackberry line of products) is certainly no exception. They've got a device in the works known as the "Blackberry Playbook".

Can it take on the current market king, the Ipad 2? 

The Look

Okay, so at first glance...there's not really anything all that special about how the playbook looks, is there? It could easily pass as a dashboard GPS unit, truth be told-particularly due to its size. But hey, portability's always been one of the selling points of the tablet PC. And that, my friends, is one area where the Playbook most definitely excels. 

This thing is tiny, measuring 5.1 inches high, 7.6 inches tall and 0.4 inches thick- compared to the Ipad 2's 9.5, 7.3, and 0.4. It's a touch lighter than the Ipad 2, as well, weighing in at only 0.9 pounds(Blackberry). Thing about portability, though...there's a certain point at which size collides with ease of use. Does it do so with the Playbook? If the prereviews are anything to go by, nope. 

As for media, the seven inch screen is bright and beautiful, delivering "great clarity and excellent viewing angles" (Engadget) at a resolution of 1024x600. The Playbook also features a 5.0 MP camera on the back, with a 3.0 Megapixel camera on the front. It's got a micro-HDMI and micro-USB port, as well as a headphone jack and speakers. Standard fare, that. (Engadget)

Basically,  to sum it up, while the Playbook doesn't really look all that special, the compact size is going to appeal to a lot of people, and no one can really complain when it comes to the screen. 

The Specs

So, performance. How's the Playbook stack up with the other tablets on the market? Is it mightier than the Ipad 2? Yes and no. In terms of system memory, it's on par with Apple's tablet. As for everything else...the specs are as follows (specs from Blackberry and Cnet): 

  • 1 GHz Dual Core Processor 
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 16, 32, 64 GB internal memory
  • Adobe Flash 10.1 Enabled, HTML 5 Enabled
  • H.264, MPEG4, WMV HDMI video formats
  • Built in Connectivity with Blackberry Smartphones
  • Runs RIMS new QNX OS
  • Maximum battery life of 7 hours
  • WiFi support

So, while the rest of the specs actually look pretty decent, the battery life is...kind of mediocre.That alone could end up being a killing point for some people. Software wise, the Playbook's interface is supposedly intuitive, easy to use, and just "feels good"(Engadget)

As for tablet apps...there's not a lot out there. Apparently the playbook's only going to release with around 3,000. (PC World) Does that seem like a lot? Compare that to the Ipad 2, which currently has "over 65,000"(Apple) Now, to be fair, this could be a case of quality over quantity, too. We'll just have to wait and see.

In any case, I've rambled enough- let's wrap things up. 

Final Word

Ultimately, the Playbook seems to be a mixed bag.

On the one hand, it's a lot more portable than the Ipad 2, and features a rather awesome operating system. It's also got a bit of power over the Ipad 2, which is always a nice touch. On the other hand, the lower battery life and sparse number of apps is really going to hurt this product. Further, there's the fact that it's not competitively priced like some of the other tablets out there (The Playbook costs the same as an Ipad 2)

You've probably already figured out the answer to my initial question- whether or not this is an Ipad killer. Tentatively, I'm going to say no.The Ipad 2's the king of the hill right now, and for a tablet to beat it, it's got to be absolutely perfect- which, I'm sorry to say, the Playbook is not. 

That's not to say you shouldn't buy it. It's not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination; it's just that it likely isn't going to be much of a threat to the Ipad 2.  If you're a fan of RIM's products or own a Blackberry Smartphone, by all means, pick yourselves up one of these. You'll be able to buy them on Blackberry's website as well as most major retailers. 

The Blackberry Playbook releases April 19. Tomorrow, in other words.