RIM hopes the PlayBook will not only appeal to BlackBerrys traditional business audience but also consumers in the market for a tablet device.
The PlayBooks rubberized backing allows for an easy grip and prevents the tablet from sliding as easily on slick or slightly tilted surfaces.
CameraThe PlayBooks 5-megapixel camera is located on the top-center of the back. Centering it on a subject feels intuitive. Pressing a button on the onscreen interface will let you take shots through the front-facing 3-megapixel camera.
The PlayBooks 7-inch form-factor makes the device very portable—it might not fit in your jacket pocket, but it will fit in most bags—and capable of being held easily in one hand.
A typical PlayBook camera shot. Pressing the - and + buttons on the top rim will let you take a screenshot, useful when assembling presentations.
The PlayBook relies on a QNX-based operating system, but its look nonetheless shares some similarities with Androids and iOS grid-like screens of apps.
EntertainmentAlthough RIM has traditionally built its audience among business users, the company is making a more consumerist push with features such as music apps.
The PlayBooks OS places heavy emphasis on multitasking, with the ability to swipe through active programs and either re-activate or close them.
The PlayBook also comes with Bing Maps, although the lack of built-in 3G makes the tablet difficult to use as a standalone navigation device (that is, without a smartphone to tether it).
The PlayBooks 7-inch screen real estate is put to effective use by many of the apps.
Flash and Video
RIM is touting the PlayBooks Flash support as a competitive differentiator from the iPad. While that means it can run much of the Webs rich content, it may also have an effect on battery life and browser stability. Seen here is the YouTube app.
The PlayBook offers a password lock; in addition, the BlackBerry Bridge lets users port their BlackBerrys data onto the larger screen—data thats removed when the BlackBerry is taken out of range.
The PlayBook comes pre-loaded with Tetris and NFS Undercover, a racing game.
:WorkThe PlayBook also comes with Word To Go, Sheet To Go and Slideshow To Go, allowing users to view and edit documents while on the move.
While the PlayBook offers shortcuts on its home screen to Twitter and Facebook, theres a lack of social-networking integration for many of the features. For example, you cant instantly upload images to Facebook.
The PlayBook browser supports Flash and HTML5. Given the lack of native email and calendar apps, its also your only portal to Gmail and similar services. (As with Twitter and Facebook, RIM provides shortcut icons to these mail services on the PlayBooks home page.)
The PlayBooks (adjustable) brightness and resolution make for a crisp reading experience.
The PlayBooks dual-core 1GHz processor can handle a wide array of functions (and native video playing) with relative ease, although the device becomes noticeably warm within the first few minutes of activity. Battery life is advertised at 8-10 hours use.
The lack of native email apps makes it a little difficult to offload images and documents. Instead, users can essentially treat the PlayBook like a giant USB stick, plugging it into their PCs and transferring files to their desktops.
The built-in Adobe Reader allows easy access to PDFs, which fit the screen nicely. However, the touch controls for this feature feel a little rough.