RIM Unveils “PlayBook” Tablet

As expected, Research In Motion unveiled a new tablet Monday, a device the company is calling “PlayBook.” The device has a 7” display and is 10mm thick. It is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor, and as expected is run on a new operating system called BlackBerry Tablet OS that was built on technology acquired when RIM purchased QNX Software Systems earlier this year.

RIM is positioning its new device where it currently dominates the smartphone industry, for Enterprise. For one thing it requires paring with a BlackBerry to access the Internet via a cellular signal, though it includes built-in WiFi. The company said that it intends to offer models equipped with 3G and 4G connectivity sometime in the unspecified future.

The company said it is compatible with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, and the company said that information on your BlackBerry can be displayed on the PlayBook. This feature is performed via a Buetooth connection, and the PlayBook doesn’t permanently store data from the host BlackBerry.

“With this approach to information security,” the company assured IT wonks, “IT departments can deploy the BlackBerry PlayBook to employees out-of-the-box without worrying about all the security and manageability issues that arise when corporate data is stored on yet another device.”

The company also stressed that BlackBerry Tablet OS is “An OS Built for Developers.” This contrasts with Apple’s approach of designing devices for the end user.

The device is smaller than an iPad in several ways. It features a 7” display, where the iPad has a 9.7” display. It’s also thinner, at 10mm compared to the iPad’s 13.4mm. That comes at a price, however, as the resolution of the display is smaller as well, 1024x600 compared to 1024x768 for the iPad. Being plastic and smaller, it weighs much less than an iPad, too, less than one pound, compared to 1.5lbs for the iPad.

It has dual HD cameras, one for the front and one on the back, though RIM didn’t specify the actual resolution of either camera. Flash fans, however, will be tickled that it supports Adobe Flash Player 10.1.x and Adobe Mobile AIR for all those great Flash apps.

Other features include a full GB of RAM, four times the 256MB in Apple’s iPad — though there is no mention of additional storage in the device, it was noted in the comments below that there is at least a model with 16GB being shown. It also has microHDMI and microUSB connectors.

RIM has not announced pricing, but said that it would be released in the first part of 2011. The company is working with “select” companies and developers now in preparing its SDK for release.

The video below is the first promo video released by RIM for the new device.