Blackberry Playbook Image

Blackberry manufacturers Research In Motion have announced the upcoming arrival of their iPad equivalent, the PlayBook.

As a 7-inch tablet, the PlayBook is smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad. It's the same size as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and like the Tab it boasts twin cameras and an HDMI connection. The iPad has none of these things. The PlayBook also plays Flash, which the iPad doesn’t, and has been strongly criticised for.

However, the PlayBook does not yet have 3G. There's a 3G version of the PlayBook in the pipeline, but leaving out 3G at launch is a massive oversight. The PlayBook will go 3G by tethering to your BlackBerry, but that limits the device's usefulness to those who already have a BB in their pocket.

RIM avoided shooting itself in the foot with the rumoured BlackPad name, but the product name still has its problems: in the US, PlayBook is a suitably macho reference to compilations of sports strategies, the sort of thing work-hard/play-hard businessmen will love. Here in England, however, the name makes the tablet sound like a lifestyle device, or worse, a toy.

The PlayBook will arrive in the US in the first quarter of 2011 and further afield in the second quarter. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.

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