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BlackBerry PlayBook

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Blackberry Playbook is a tablet computer by Research In Motion that was released on April 19, 2011. There are two outstanding properties of this tablet:

The Playbook uses the dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP4430 CPU running at 1 GHz.. The Blackberry Playbook supports high resolution video playback (H.264, MPEG4, WMV), and audio (MP3, AAC 5.1, WMA 5.1 audio playback) formats. It also has a micro-HDMI port for HDMI video output. Among the Playbook, Apple iPad, and Xoom from Motorola, the Playbook comes in lightest at 0.9 pounds (0.41 kg), compared to 1.33 pounds (0.60 kg) and 1.59 pounds (0.72 kg), respectively.

PlayBook supports up to 1080p video playback.  The PlayBook has a 1024◊600 WSVGA, 7-inch display and 3D graphics acceleration. It features a variety of sensors, including an InvenSense 6-axis gyroscope, magnetometer, and accelerometer. PlayBook also features a 3 MP front-facing camera for video chatting over Wi-Fi and a rear-facing 5 MP camera, both of which can record 1080p video.

It runs Blackberry Tablet OS, based on QNX Neutrino, which has better multitasking that either iPad OS or Android. Apps are developed using Adobe AIR:

Adobe Integrated Runtime, also known as Adobe AIR, is a cross-platform run-time system developed by Adobe Systems for building Rich Internet applications (RIA) using Adobe Flash, Apache Flex (formerly Adobe Flex), HTML, and Ajax, that can be run as desktop applications or on mobile devices. The runtime supports installable applications on Windows, Mac OS and some mobile operating systems such as BlackBerry Tablet OS, iOS and Android...

Adobe AIR internally uses Adobe Flash Player as the runtime environment, and ActionScript 3 as the sole programming language.

BlackBerry 10 phone will also use the same OS, so it will used universally across RIM's product line.



The platform also has relatively few native third party applications compared to other platforms but key applications are available.  Among them

Initially the only way to access email was through the web browser,  BlackBerry Bridge, or third-party applications from App World. However, RIM has made these native applications available version 2.0 of BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 . In case of BlackBerry Bridge which accesses mail, calendar, and contacts directly from a tethered BlackBerry phone, the PlayBook meets the same encryption standards as the BlackBerry phone

. The software update added integrated native email, calendar, and contact apps. It also included visual changes to the operating system, support for a variety of Android applications and also brought three new applications built into the OS:

BBM (aka BlackBerry Messenger) support was not included with the 2.0 update, although RIM intends to support BBM in a future update. BBM is still supported through the BlackBerry Bridge software, allowing users to continue to have access to it while bridged to their BlackBerry smartphone.

Market share

The hardware was good, but high price ($400 initially for 16GB model) as well as absence of marketing and absence of Kindle and other major applications led to low shipments.

Later it was discounted to the level of Amazon Kindle and sales improved dramatically: in November 2011 RIM reduced price for the 16 GB model of the PlayBook to $269.80. The 32 GB model to $319.80, and the 64 GB model to $399.80. The PlayBook is a popular tablet in Canada, accounting for nearly 20% of the tablet market (as of July 2012).

As of March 2012, RIM has announced that it has sold one million PlayBooks since its launch. As of September 1, 2012, Research In Motion has shipped 1.74 million BlackBerry PlayBook units.

According to Strategy Analytics figures in the 2011 second quarter, the PlayBook's market share is 3.3 percent, compared to iOS (iPad, iPad 2) by Apple with 61.3 percent, Android by Google with 30.1 percent, and various Windows by Microsoft with 4.6 percent.

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Hype vs reality

It's funny but even in 2013 Blackberry tablet outspecs many android 7" tablets.

As an engineer, I look at the specifications, not the advertising or what everyone's friends have (RE: iPad ...). Just a few features worth noting:

I have all three memory sizes (16GB, 32GB and 64GB). Kids have 32GB for web surfing and games, wife has 16GB for web surfing and I have 64GB as I load movies for long plane trips.

Sadly RIM doesn't know how to advertise. I keep buying them when I can find them and give the for gifts. Everyone who gets one is wow'ed and say's "I didn't know antying about this ... sure beats my iPad!"



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