Extra evidence that the future of tablet computing is going to be very active—today RIM dropped some details on its upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook seven-inch tablet, with a new BlackBerry Tablet OS.
It's smaller than Apple's existing 9.7-inch iPad screen, but it promises to be more powerful and feature-rich, with a dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of embedded RAM, dual front and rear HD cameras, HDMI video output, tethering to BlackBerry phones and support for Adobe Flash 10.1 as well as Adobe's Air publishing platform.
RIM claims that it will launch in Q2 of next year, and with the install base of BlackBerry Exchange servers in the corporate world, it could be a formidable business device. Whether it will gain the same type of acceptance that the iPad currently enjoys will have everything to do with how many developers embrace the platform, and how much the device will cost—still a big question mark on that.
And the biggest question mark of all is what will happen between now and the second half of 2011.
How many Google Android or Chrome tablets will be on the market by then? Will HP beat RIM to market with Palm webOS tablets? And, of course, Apple likes to make big announcements in January—and I wouldn't be too surprised to see a lineup of at least two iPads with cameras all over them, FaceTime support, Retina displays and dual-core A4 processors popping up next year. So as usual, we hold our breath.