BlackBerry PlayBook Update: New Video Demo, App World, Multiple Tablet Sizes
RIM still hasn't announced a release date for the PlayBook tablet but the company's slowly dropping new info to tease the gadget
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Yesterday, Research In Motion (RIM) co-chief executive Mike Lazaridis addressed the audience at The Wall Street Journal’s“Dive Into Mobile” technology conference in San Francisco, once again showing off the company’s upcoming BlackBerry Tablet computer and talking up the future of BlackBerry. (Check out this latest PlayBook tablet video demonstration below.)
Since the BlackBerry tablet was officially unveiled back in September, RIM representatives, including Lazaridis and his fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie, have made a number of strategic appearances in which bits and pieces of the PlayBook hardware and the associated QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS were revealed. Specifically, Lazaridis showed the world the first BlackBerry PlayBook live-demonstration at Adobe’s MAX developer conference in late October. And Balsillie gave gadget-blog Engadget a quick PlayBook walkthrough in mid-November at the Web 2.0 Summit.
Though no official release date has been announced–RIM has said the PlayBook tablet should be available in “early 2011”–a number of new developments suggest the BlackBerry PlayBook could hit the United States sooner than later.
For example, RIM yesterday announced that it is now accepting BlackBerry PlayBook app submission for its BlackBerry App World software store. And the company is attempting to sweeten the deal for potential PlayBook developers by offering a free BlackBerry tablet to any and all coders who have qualifying applications accepted into BlackBerry App World before the tablet’s U.S. launch.
RIM is also holding its first PlayBook-specific, live developer event in New York City today, followed by similar events in both Toronto and San Francisco in the coming weeks, according to CrackBerry.com.
During Lazaridis’s Dive Into Mobile PlayBook demo, the RIM co-CEO also spilled some interesting information about future BlackBerry tablets: When asked by conference host Walt Mossberg if RIM saw the need for tablets larger or smaller than the current 7-inch PlayBook, Lazaridis responded, “Um…we’ve got different sizes (potentially) coming.” (Watch the Lazaridis interview video below.)
Lazaridis’s statement doesn’t necessary mean that PlayBook tablets will be released in different sizes, but it does suggest RIM is at least experimenting with a larger tablet-size.
In each of the PlayBook demonstrations mentioned above, the tablet looks quite responsive, but I still can’t help being slightly skeptical since all the demos appear to be so “controlled.” (Also, I’m a blogger, and bloggers are skeptical.) I’ve yet to see a single demonstration in which a non-RIM employee is allowed to even touch the tablet…or a demo with the tablet held vertically….and that seems odd to me. RIM was also very pointed about not allowing any non-RIM people access to the PlayBook tablet at its BlackBerry Developer Conference in September, where the device was first unveiled.
Regardless, a PlayBook launch can’t be too far off, and the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas next month seems like a great place to announce an official PlayBook release date. Right now, all signs seem to point to a mid-February to early-March launch, but that’s just speculation.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.