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BlackBerry Playbook

Canadian smartphone giant Research In Motion (RIM) has officially announced its first tablet challenger to Apple’s iPad.

The device, called Playbook, will sport a seven-inch multi-touch touchscreen, a 1GHz Cortex-A9 dual core processor, and unlike the BlackBerry OS that powers BlackBerry smartphones, it will run on a wholly new operating system developed by QNX Software Systems, one of RIM’s acquisitions.

QNX founder, Dan Dodge, said: "QNX is going to enable things that you have never seen before.”

Giving weight to the Playbook name, he added that will be "an incredible gaming platform for publishers and the players”.

Aside from a new OS, Playbook will also pack front and rear facing cameras capable of HD video calling and can be plugged directly to an HDTV via the onboard micro-HDMI port.

It will be also compatible with Adobe’s Flash technology, which the iPad isn’t.

Although launch models will only be capable of connecting to the web via Wi-Fi and tethering with a BlackBerry handset, RIM confirmed that it plans to release 3G and 4G versions in the future.

Due to smaller form factor, the Playbook weighs just 400g and is considerably more compact than the iPad, which is sure to appeal to users looking for a more portable tablet device.

The Playbook will be available stateside in Q1 2011 and the rest of the world the following quarter. Pricing details have not yet been confirmed but expect to hear more regarding that very soon.

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