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Blackberry Playbook: The iPad Alternative? Probably Not.

by on March 22nd, 2011

Along with the Apple iPad 2 press release this morning, Research In Motion today also announced its plans to release their Blackberry Playbook tablet in the US and Canada on April 19, 2011. Believe it or not, this news almost got lost among the Apple release!

“The BlackBerry PlayBook is an amazing tablet that is already being widely praised as a multi-tasking powerhouse with an uncompromised web experience and an ultra-portable design,” said Mike Lazaridis, President & Co-CEO, Research In Motion.

According to the release, the Blackberry Playbook delivers “professional-grade, consumer-friendly” experiences that redefine mobile computing. The device also features a 7-inch touch screen display, Adobe Flash 10.1, multitasking, HD multimedia, advanced security features, enterprise support, and a “robust” development environment.

Just looking at the above specs alone, the Playbook is like a baby iPad (I wonder how the battery will hold up against Flash?).

Like the iPad, the Playbook is available in three sizes but with WiFi only:

  • 16 GB WiFi: $499
  • 32 GB WiFi: $599
  • 64 GB WiFi: $699

So far, Best Buy and Future Shop have stepped up to be the main launch retailers, but there are many others to purchase the Playbook from.

In terms of specifications, the Playbook is similar to the iPad, with the main exception probably being the Playbook’s better cameras. The Playbook is also thicker than the iPad (original iPad style) and about the same weight. For those interested, you can check out the spec list below:

BlackBerry PlayBook Specifications

  • 7″ 1024×600 WSVGA capacitive LCD touch screen
  • Ultra-portable at less than a pound and less than one-half inch thick: 0.9 lbs (425g) and 5.1” x 7.6” x 0.4” (130mm x 194mm x 10mm)
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • MP3, AAC and WMA audio playback
  • Support for high resolution video playback (H.264, MPEG4, WMV)
  • 1080p HDMI output
  • Dual 1080p HD cameras for video conferencing and video capture (3MP front and 5MP rear)
  • 1 GB RAM memory
  • Up to 64 GB internal storage (16, 32 and 64 GB models)
  • GPS, Orientation Sensor (Accelerometer), 6-Axis Motion Sensor (Gyroscope), Digital Compass (Magnetometer)
  • Stereo speakers and stereo microphones
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) connectivity
  • Bluetooth 2.1+EDR support

Overall, the Playbook seems like a worthy competitor/alternative to the iPad, but something tells me that the iPad is going to destroy the Playbook, both in terms of customer demand and sales volume.

For now, I’ll keep my iPad. Are you getting the Playbook?


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Posted under: iPad News

  • Yes I’ll be getting a Playbook. I’ve seen the device in action a few times now, the hardware and OS are beautiful and lightening fast. It’s small and nimble in ways the iPad can only dream of. As for Flash, Adobe AIR is a native part of the OS and is one of the native development platforms for it. Flash content will hold up as well on the battery as anything else (beside the Flash battery thing has many times been proven to be mostly a false argument, it’s the playback of video that impacts the battery, doesn’t matter what platform you do this on).

    There’s a solid base of Blackberry users looking for an iPad alternative, particularly one that will work with their existing enterprise Blackberry servers and meet the stringent security requirements of enterprise IT. I would bet this device is going to do incredibly well.

    As an aside, based on the number of people with or looking for Apple alternatives at SXSW Interactive this year, I’m guessing that the move away from Apple fanatical love is going to continue in 2011. Between the Playbook and HP’s TouchPad there are going to be 2 very strong competitors on the market and that’s not even counting all the Android based tablets on the way.

  • Thanks for the update. Definitely let us know how the Playbook performs in
    real-life tests. Did RIM mention anything about battery life?

  • Andy H

    come on..its called the “playbook”…

  • rox

    So if I understood correctly this is a third OS (not iOS and not Android). Sounds odd to me, who would like to be captive of a third and not know OS. iOS gets all the Apps, Android is multiplatform and receive the love from those that hate Apple… but a third OS, I don’t get it. I rarely due forecast, but I call it dead on arrival. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see room for a third player here. From what I see, the war is not within the hardware, but the software. Let’s put t this way, kids won’t by a Playbook, grandpa won’t by a Playbook, most women won’t buy a Playbook… this sounds like 2 strikes to me.

  • “I’m guessing that the move away from Apple fanatical love is going to continue in 2011.”

    I’m guessing you were living on another planet for all of 2010 if you think there is a move away from Apple fanatical love. Did you see the lines? 15 MILLION iPads sold? Rim won’t sell 15 million playbook’s period, let alone in the first 9 months.

  • Anonymous

    Actually it also looks like the Playbook has more internal RAM and probably better multitasking.

  • Marco

    and webPalm or whatever name HP put on the Palm OS and there`s some tablets with Windows 7…

    Total 5 OS for tablets… the most friendly… iOS I think.

  • cool person

    I am getting a ipad and i dont know if i should get wifi or wifi+3G???