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Is The BlackBerry PlayBook Actually Impressive?

It’s hard for me to put this all together in my head, but after watching the BlackBerry PlayBook demo today, I’m actually thinking that it’s rather impressive. I mean, it’s a BlackBerry, right? Well yes, but this one has a new core and is effectively an Adobe slate with Flash and Adobe Air running through it’s veins. So, just like Microsoft bringing Silverlight to the core of Windows Phone, BlackBerry partnered with Adobe to bring in a huge tool for developers. This is the first time we’re seeing the device in action and you can see it running an HD video while multitasking and then go into Flash in-browser to play a YouTube video all at the same time and it seems to happen very seamlessly. The one knock is the method of going back to the homescreen (which reveals the multitasking tiles as well as a quick launcher for the most used apps) and that’s just a flick up which I see as something that will lead to problems in the future as scrolling and going back to the home screen will likely get confused. A hardware button would help…guess they didn’t want to copy the iPad too closely.

Anyway, here’s the video. Jump ahead to around 2:40 to see the good stuff.

And to show how serious they are about the platform, they state that if you submit an eligible Air app to the BlackBerry market they’ll give you a free PlayBook. That’s the sort of incentive that tells you they’re serious about this thing.

I’ll say this much, it’s worth keeping an eye on because if they can keep the battery life on this thing at a competitive level and the pricing competitive, it seems like a nice slate. We’ll have to see if they can get developers to flock to it, but with the Adobe presence they may have actually figured out a solution to get into the tablet market quickly. I know that Android has 100k apps as of today, but on the tablet front it’s not there yet. Android will certainly have a large lead but Adobe and RIM are a pretty surprisingly strong team and they also benefit from the ‘write once’ concept so apps can work on PCs and PlayBooks. Will it beat the iPad in a year? No. Will it beat Android in a year? No. Android is a mob that has to be reckoned with. It will beat Microsoft in a year since they don’t have a viable tablet solution yet…anyway, we have a nice game on our hands here. Let’s see how it pans out. What do you think about it all?