How the BlackBerry Playbook Works

PlayBook Features

The BlackBerry PlayBook has a 7-inch capacitive touch screen, making it smaller than the iPad 2, which sports a 9.7-inch screen. The screen gives the PlayBook a 1024 x 600 resolution. The PlayBook is also lighter than the iPad 2, weighing in at a mere 0.9 pounds (about 0.4 kilograms). But the PlayBook is a touch thicker than the iPad 2 -- it's 0.4 inches (about 1 centimeter) thick, compared to the newer iPad's 0.34 inches (0.88 centimeters).

The PlayBook has stereo sound with four speakers inside the device. There's also a standard 3.5 mm headphone jack for those who wish to spare their neighbors the sounds of Angry Birds playing in the background. The device also has a pair of microphones -- presumably, RIM included two microphones as a noise-cancellation feature.

The PlayBook has two cameras. The forward-facing camera features a 3-megapixel resolution, which is on the low end for standalone digital cameras but right in the middle of the pack for handheld devices like smartphones or tablets. The rear-facing camera is a slightly beefier 5-megapixel model. The rear-facing camera can record video at 1080p resolution. It also has an HDMI-out port that will let you connect the PlayBook to a high-definition television for video playback.

You can use Bluetooth technology to link a BlackBerry PlayBook with another device such as a keyboard or BlackBerry smartphone. This is one of the key features of the PlayBook -- you can pair the tablet with a BlackBerry smartphone to get service over a 3G network. The phone acts as a wireless modem. You can also connect to your smartphone's address book, e-mail client and other features by tethering the two devices together.

The BlackBerry PlayBook shipped without a native e-mail client or calendar feature. To access those apps, you first must tether the tablet to a BlackBerry smartphone. RIM says that this promotes data security -- should someone steal your PlayBook, they can't access your data because it's not stored on the device. But RIM also says that the device will eventually have its own native e-mail and calendar apps [source: Lomas].

The PlayBook runs a proprietary operating system called QNX. The operating system supports true multitasking -- operations can run in the background without going into sleep mode. The PlayBook also supports Flash and HTML5.

Next, we'll look at what makes the PlayBook tick.