One of the most eagerly anticipated tablet devices in the corporate jet-set crowd and blackberry aficionados worldwide is the imminent launch of Research in Motion’s Blackberry Playbook, and only at Good e-Reader can you get the most comprehensive live coverage of this new tablet in action.
Just to bring you up to speed on the hardware aspects of the Playbook before we get into our own thoughts of the coverage, let’s review.
The Blackberry Playbook has a 7 inch capacitive touchscreen with gesture support. The display resolution is 1024×600 and runs on a 1 GHZ Cortex A9 dual core processor. It has 1 GB of ram and will have three different options for internal memory; 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. It has dual HD cameras, one on the back of the device which is 5 MP and the front facing 3 MP, which supports 1080P HD video recording. Speaking of video, it plays back 1080P HD video with the H.264, MPEG, DIVX and WMV formats. Audio playback is done with the stereo speakers and will support MP3, AAC, and WMA formats. It has HDMI, micro USB, bluetooth, WIFI, and 3G optional models, it will also support Sprints 4G network at launch time in the USA. It measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm) and weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g).
It features the QNX operating system which is the first time RIM has employed since they purchased the company last year. It also has support for an open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, and Java.
When we first got our hands on the Blackberry Playbook it felt like a well constructed hardware device, it did not weigh that much and looked very slick. Considering it is a late prototype device it only has the bare bone essentials on it, such as video, calendar, Adobe Reader, web browser, camera, music, photos, shader, street view, and Youtube. It also has a few games, such as a Sesame Street title, Quake, and a few others. It did not feature BBIM, the Playbook App market, or any of the tethering software to be integrated with your Blackberry smartphone.
One of the prime aspects that really impressed us was the seamless multitasking environment. When you had a Youtube video, Quake and the web-browser open it actually showed live windows that displayed exactly what was going on. We tested it having every single application on the device open at the same time, and there no lag at all! We saw a live view of every program by swiping both left and right to see what was happening.
Youtube support on the Blackberry Playbook is its own custom application that had its own GUI and distinct way of browsing for videos. It felt much akin to the normal way Youtube is displayed on the web browser on your PC. It showed around 8 videos per pane when you searched for something, and then you can gesture up and down to show more videos.
The internet web browser feels more like the Blackberry Torch then any other iteration of the RIM’s efforts to provide a seamless browsing experience. We found browsing on the Torch has been their best effort in web browsing and with a larger screen it is actually really solid.
One of the less toted features of the Blackberry Playbook was the matted back cover, which is much like the Kobo e-reader, where it it is designed to hold it with one hand and provide a strong grip.
When we talked with some of the senior engineers they let us know that developer interest SDK for the Playbook exceeded their wildest expectations. They let on that the current Appworld offered for their line of smartphones will pale in comparison to the sheer amount of applications they have in the pipeline for the Playbook by the end of the year. One of the reasons was the free unit they offered to developers who had decent applications approved by RIM for the initial launch. They also teased at Sync support for the iPhone and iPad via RIM’s own tablet computer.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.