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Alan Panezic, RIMs vice president of software, shows the media that his presentation is playing via the PlayBook, which he said now has over 3,000 apps created to run on it.

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Consumers View

Though RIM caters primarily to enterprise users, Panezic explains the consumer viewpoint of smartphones, tablets and PCs and how the PlayBook offers the best of both the smartphone and PC worlds.

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Video Chat

RIM unleashed its PlayBook Video Chat app, which leverages the tablet's front- and rear-facing cameras in high definition to provide face-to-face chats with one click. This app is scheduled to be available in an over-the-air QNX operating system upgrade to 1.0.3 sometime this week.

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Facebook App

Also slated to come with QNX 1.0.3 is RIM's Facebook for PlayBook application tailored for the larger screen real estate of the tablet. Users may access Facebook Chat, photos and News Feed just as they would on a PC or smartphone. The app is the "first tablet-optimized application for Facebook," according to RIM.

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PlayBook App Screen

RIM spokesperson Jeff Gadway shows eWEEK the PlayBook's application home screen.

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PlayBook Video

Video on the PlayBook is superb, with crisp resolution. Video arguably looked better on the PlayBook than on its iPad 2 and Motorola Xoom rivals.

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Gadway said the PlayBook has Web browsing and multitasking like no other tablet, thanks largely to RIM's full support for Adobe Flash. We would beg to differ; multitasking is also pretty excellent on the Xoom, which also supports Flash multimedia content. We will grant that in our tests the PlayBook user interface is easier to learn than Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" for consumers without strong tech backgrounds.

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Scrolling from one app to the next was a joy on the PlayBook. Here, Gadway moved from a Cirque de Soleil clip to a movie trailer. The Cirque de Soleil clip continued to play even as the movie trailer fired up. This simul-play capability sets the PlayBook apart from other tablets. "What other people are calling multitasking is really just pausing between applications and switching back and forth," Gadway argued.

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Multitasking Modes

Here is something we haven't seen on any other tablet. Not only can the user run two videos at once, but the PlayBook lets users decide to run multiple videos at once, or choose to limit such apps to one play at a time. Moreover, developers can actually design their PlayBook apps to pause apps as they go off-screen, or continue to play. The showcase option shown here means all apps run at the same time. Default reverts to whatever app developers designate for their apps.

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