London: Blackberry has announced the launch of its tablet computer Playbook, as an answer to Apple’s iPad.
The first business-centric device in the tablet market created by Blackberry maker Research In Motion, the smart phone is seen as the phone of choice among this sector.
Since its April launch, the iPad has dominated the space with research firm iSuppli predicting sales of 12 million by the end of the year.
“RIM’s Blackberry Playbook tablet looks to be a real challenger to Apple’s iPad, playing on its business credentials, rather than being just another joy machine,” the BBC quoted Stuart Miles, editor of mobile technology website Pocket-Lint, as saying. “Whether RIM can deliver what it promises in the business environment with a selection of new apps on yet another operating system will be the real test though. Either way, it’s clear that the battle of the tablets is now full steam ahead,” he added.
The Playbook will have a 7-inch screen with front and rear facing cameras to enable video conferencing, Bluetooth and WiFi.
The operating system will be QNX software and not the Blackberry OS 6, to ensure compatibility of the tablet platform with the OS. It will have no 3G capabilities but will enable 3G data connecting by tethering to a Blackberry smartphone.
Although the price has not been announced, it will become commercially available early in 2011.
“What remains to be seen is whether RIM can keep the price realistic for everyday users – despite all the high quality features, a high price tag will put a lot of people off and convince them that a tablet is a superfluous gadget that they don’t really need,” said Kate Solomon of mobile news and views site Recombu.com.