tp-blackberry-playbook

The BlackBerry PlayBook features a seven-inch screen and can run both HTML5 and Flash 10. ((Research In Motion))

Research In Motion is launching the BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet computer designed to compete with Apple's iPad.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company announced the device at a developers' conference in San Francisco on Monday.

The PlayBook is aimed at business customers, co-chief executive Michael Lazaridis said during a speech at the conference. The device is 9.7 millimetres thick and features a seven-inch touch screen. It can run both HTML 5 and Flash 10.1 and has a one gigahertz dual-core processor with one gigabyte of RAM.

Lazaridis said the PlayBook is compatible with a business's existing enterprise servers, so there is no need for additional software, security or data plans. The device can connect with a user's BlackBerry via Bluetooth and share the same data plan.

"[It's] an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry," he said.

The device also has front- and rear-facing cameras, supports 1080p high-definition video and has HDMI output, which Lazaridis said is ideal for displaying presentations, videos and websites.

The company said the PlayBook will be available in the United States in early 2011, followed by other international markets during the second quarter. RIM did not disclose pricing; nor did it say what kind of storage ability the device will have.

The PlayBook will also have Wi-Fi compatibility, but it will not initially have 3G wireless connectivity. RIM said it intends to offer those features in the future.

The tablet computer is RIM's effort to compete against the hot-selling iPad from Apple, as well as several recently announced devices running Google's Android operating system, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Toshiba Folio.

 Feature  iPad PlayBook 
 Screen  9.7 inch LCD  7-inch LCD

 O/S

 iPhone OS 3+  BlackBerry Tablet O/S
 Apps  iTunes  BB App Store
 Camera  None  2, front and back
 Weight  1.5 pounds  0.9 pounds
 Adobe Flash  no  yes
 Video  720p  1080p, HDMI out
 Wi-Fi  yes yes