RIM reveals HSPA+, 4G versions of Playbook tablet - outpacing iPad

More gadget hysteria from the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

UPDATE 15/02/11: At the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, RIM has unveilled a prototype of its Playbook tablet that supports 3G HSPA+ and 4G. Currently there are no tablets on the market that support HSPA+ (which allows much faster download speeds than plain vanilla 3G), although many data sticks support the faster spec.

The first HSPA+ cellphones - like Samsung's Galaxy II, also announced in Barcelona - are only just starting to be announced. Although the final specs for Apple's second-generation iPad are not known, it is not thought to support HSPA+ or 4G, instead focusing on enhancements such as the addition of a camera.

RIM co-chief executive Jim Balsillie dismissed speculation about delays, telling media at the Barcelona expo that the first Playbook tablet would appear as scheduled in April or March.

The first generation Playbook will be standard 3G, with the HSPA+ and 4G models appearing later this year (New Zealand probably won't have any 4G networks until after the 2013 digital TV switchover, but nevermind; Kordia employees, we'll take the comments as read).

A rep for RIM's Australian office told NBR the company hoped to released the PlayBook in New Zealand during the second quarter - subject to carrier negotiations.

The PlayBook is expected to sell for aound $US500 ($NZ670). 

 

BlackBerry's Playbook - where it has the edge on iPad


SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 BlackBerry maker RIM as given US journalists a first look at its tablet, due early next year in North America, and the rest of the world mid-2011 (see the official video of the launch event below). 

The BlackBerry Playbook will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, plus a coming raft of tablets, led by the Samsung Galaxy Tab based on Google’s Android software, plus Windows models promised later in the year.

BlackBerry maker RIM as given US journalists a first look at its tablet, due early next year in North America, and the rest of the world mid-2011 (see the official video of the launch event below).

The BlackBerry Playbook will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, plus a coming raft of tablets, led by the Samsung Galaxy Tab based on Google’s Android software, plus Microsoft Windows and HP/Palm WebOS models promised later in the year.

Smaller display
The most notable difference from the iPad are that the BlackBerry Playbook has a much smaller display (7-inches to the iPad’s 9.7-inches; the pay-off: the Playbook is 400g to the iPad’s hefty 700g; see full feature list below).

Twin video cameras for conferencing
Another key difference: the PlayBook has two high def video cameras (one front, one back; the iPad has none), allowing you to videoconference over the internet.
 

 

Tethering
Like the iPad, the Playbook won’t let you make phone calls directly, but you will be able to tether (connect directly) to a BlackBerry phone.

Flash support
Another advantage: support for Adobe Flash support - so conspicuously lacking in the iPad, meaning sections of some sites do not display - is present and correct in the PlayBook.

The PlayBook also supports HTML 5 (as does the iPad), and has support for full high definition video (or 1080p; the iPad is just shy of full HD).

True multitasking
The PlayBook also features the ability to run more than one software programme at one and switch between them; something currently offered by the iPhone (at least with Apple's latest software, iOS4, but not yet the iPad).

No 3G. Ouch
RIM promises 3G and 4G support in future models (the iPad comes in a 3G version, but it only allows data transmission, not calling).

Pricing was not even hinted at.

Don’t expect it to be cheap though. RIM is billing the PlayBook as the “professional table” while the iPad is for play.

Given that the iPad is available with 3G mobile broadband, and the PlayBook will not be – many business people may not believe that line.

MORE:
Technologizer: Playbook Looks Spectacular–So Far
RIM: Official BlackBerry PlayBook site

RELATED:
Comscore: Blackberry still market share king

RIM BLACKBERRY PLAYBOOK FEATURES

  • 7″ LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support
  • BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
  • 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording
  • Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV
  • Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
  • Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe
  • Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java
  • Ultra thin and portable:
  • Measures 5.1″x7.6″x0.4″ (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)
  • Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)
  • Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail outlets.
  • RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.
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