RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

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RIM BlackBerry PlayBook

Months past its expected launch date, the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook went on sale April 19. Priced from $499 to $699, the PlayBook relies on a wireless tethering feature called BlackBerry Bridge, which uses the connectivity of a BlackBerry smartphone to display email, calendar and other information from the phone.

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LCD Display

The PlayBook features a 7-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1,024 by 600 and support for four-finger multitouch gesture input. It's big enough for displaying movies and enterprise applications, but small enough to fit in one hand.

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Popping the Lid Off

What happens when the device is powered up, however, is of less interest to the iFixit team than the PlayBooks behind-the-scenes hardware. Popping off the back cover, they found that RIM has built the innards of the tablet into its display, instead of its rear case, as is more common.

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The Rear View

"The cameras are pretty hefty," Miroslav Djuric, iFixit's director of technical communication, wrote in a statement. While the iPad 2 features a VGA front camera, RIM sprang for a 3-megapixel camera on the front and a 5-megapixel camera on the back.

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Camera Assembly

A criticism from iFixit, however, is that the front and rear cameras and the top control buttons are all attached. Should one of these things need to be replaced, the thinking goes, it'll be more expensive than had they been separate.

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RIM has a lot riding on the success of the PlayBook, and folks at Texas Instruments must also be crossing their fingers for its success. iFixit found at least eight chips on the tablet's motherboard that are from TI. A few of them, visible on the back of the board, are outlined in purple, red and orange.

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Battery Life

iFixit found a 20 watt-hour battery inside the PlayBook. While smaller than the iPad 2's battery, the PlayBook's display is smaller, which means a little less drain from things like video theoretically could even out their battery life. (According to some reviewers, however, it doesn't.)

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