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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?

[RIM]

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