Waterloo-based BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's PlayBook tablet has been available in North America since Tuesday, April 19.
Available in three versions, viz. 16GB, 32GB and 64GB with price tags of $499, $599 and $699 respectively, the PlayBook boasts of its all-new QNX operating system, Flash-capable web browser, and a user interface (UI) that is receiving enthusiastic reviews. At just seven inches, the new tablet is easier to handle and carry.
However, it has been criticized by some analysts for missing some key features such as native email, messaging apps and calendar. Lack of apps as compared to Apple second-generation tablet, the iPad 2, is also hitting its reputation. Currently, the PlayBook has nearly 3,000 apps, compared to the 65,000 apps designed for the iPad.
It needs a BlackBerry to allow owners to make the most of it as it doesn’t have its own cellular connection, and depends on Wi-Fi to allow users to access the Web.
It connects with a BlackBerry using a secure Bluetooth connection to allow users to access features like corporate email, calendar, address book and BlackBerry Messenger. The data disappears if the link is broken.
The company has plans to upgrade the tablet in near future by adding email, address book and calendar apps for those who do not own a BlackBerry.
Radio-enabled versions for high-speed WiMax, HSPA+ and LTE networks will be roll out later this year.