Apple iPad vs. RIM PlayBook Could Be Real Title Fight

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Apple iPad vs. RIM PlayBook Could Be Real Title Fight

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Apple iPad

Since its April launch, the Apple iPad has come to dominate the consumer tablet PC market. That has led a variety of competitors, ranging from Dell to Samsung, to plan their own tablet offerings.

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RIMs Enterprise Play

As opposed to those companies, which are aiming their tablets solidly at the consumer market, RIM plans to market its upcoming PlayBook tablet toward the enterprise.

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Flash Support

Apple made a conscious choice that the iPad would not support Adobe Flash, opening the door for RIM and other competitors to tout their tablets' abilities to render more Websites' rich content.

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7-Inch Screen

The PlayBook will feature a 7-inch multitouch capacitive screen with 1,024-by-600 resolution. That makes it smaller than the iPad, whose 9.7-inch screen features 1,024-by-768 resolution.

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Apple's iOS 4.2 update, which includes multitasking and the ability to print wirelessly from the iPad, is seemingly tailor-made to blunt its competitors' features. During RIM's Sept. 27 PlayBook unveiling, the company highlighted the tablet's ability to multitask.

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3G Connectivity

The PlayBook will offer 3G connectivity through the user's existing BlackBerry service plan. The Apple iPad, on the other hand, offers an "a la carte" connectivity model, with customers able to activate their 3G connection on a monthly basis.

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App Ecosystems

Apple iPad users can download everything from ebooks to music and movies through the company's online storefront. RIM seems determined to build out its own applications ecosystem for both its smartphones and tablets, but for the moment its offerings lack depth.

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RIM is highlighting the PlayBook's ability to video-conference, courtesy of its front- and rear-facing cameras. The Apple iPad currently features no cameras, although the device's second generation—rumored to be in the works—could change that.

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Instead of using its new BlackBerry 6 OS, RIM decided to develop an operating system based on QNX technology for the PlayBook. Questions remain about its user interface, which will (for better or worse) be inevitably contrasted against the Apple iPad's iOS.

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Lingering Questions

RIM has not offered a price point or firm release date for the PlayBook, two questions that could ultimately help determine whether the device is adopted by consumers and the enterprise.

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