BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet: 10 Key Features and Facts

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Anxious to get your thumbs on Research In Motion's (RIM) first BlackBerry tablet, the PlayBook?

Yeah. Me too. That's why, over the past couple of weeks, I scrounged the Web for every single detail on the 7", 1024x600 BlackBerry tablet that I could find, no matter how miniscule, so that I could highlight the ten most relevant features and related PlayBook-facts into this one, simple post.

Unfortunately, two of the most important pieces of information regarding the BlackBerry PlayBook are still unknown: 1) When exactly the PlayBook will become available in North America and elsewhere; and 2) How much its various versions will cost. New rumors suggest a version of the PlayBook will sell for less than $500, and that it should arrive stateside in the first quarter of 2011. But that's all unofficial for now.

Thankfully, there's plenty we do currently know about the PlayBook. Check out what I've found to be the ten most notable BlackBerry PlayBook features and facts.

1) PlayBook Storage: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB

RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will be available with at least three different storage-capacities: 16GB, 32GB and 64GBs, according to RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. I've also heard some rumblings about an 8GB PlayBook, but I've seen nothing official on this from RIM.

Balsillie reportedly told Bloomberg recently that a sub-$500 version of the PlayBook will go on sale in the first quarter of 2011. That version will presumably be the PlayBook with the least storage capacity, be it 8GB or 16GB, but again, RIM hasn't made any sort of official statement on storage capacities, release dates or prices.

2) PlayBook Color Options

RIM officially announced the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at its third annual BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco last September, where event attendees were able to get a look at the tablet--though the display PlayBooks were encased in plastic and could not be touched. (Check out a video of the PlayBook demonstration rooms at DevCon here.)

One thing was clear from the PlayBooks on display at DevCon: RIM will offer the BlackBerry tablet in a handful of color options including the default black and a turquoise-blue. Those were the only two PlayBook colors at DevCon, but PlayBooks could be released in most of the colors of the rainbow before long.

3) No Stand-Alone PlayBook Cellular Connectivity...Yet

The initial versions of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will not have internal cellular radios. As such, you'll need to wirelessly "tether" your PlayBook to a BlackBerry with a cellular data connection for cellular wireless connectivity.

This fact could be viewed as both a good- and a bad-thing; it's good because you won't need to pay any monthly service bills or sign any new wireless contracts for the PlayBook; but on the flipside, it's not exactly ideal because you'll have to tote both your BlackBerry and PlayBook whenever you desire cellular connectivity via tablet. And you'll need to connect the two, via Bluetooth, to use cellular wireless.

Future versions of BlackBerry tablets are expected to have internal cellular radios.

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4) BlackBerry PlayBook is a Processor Powerhouse

The BlackBerry PlayBook packs some serious processing power. The PlayBook's 1GHz, dual-core processor is one of, if not the, most powerful processors available in a modern tablet. And that extra "ooomph", if you will, should help provide the PlayBook with impressive multitasking and media-streaming experiences, as well as stand up to a variety of additional processor-intensive tasks.

Next page: Details about Wi-Fi and Adobe Flash

At a Glance
  • RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook looks promising, but the operating system's rough patches and a lack of app selection are reasons to think twice.


    • Sharp display has vivid, accurate colors
    • High-definition video playback impresses
    • Light weight makes this conducive to hold in hand


    • Initial software is buggy and lacks polish
    • No integrated e-mail, contacts, or calendaring
    • Awkwardly designed onscreen keyboard
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