There’s been an abundance of tablet announcements this year at CES, but the tablet that drew one of the biggest draw was one we already knew all about. The Blackberry Playbook made its public debut, and everyone was mad keen to get their filthy little hands on it (as evidenced by the grimy marks you can see in the photos…).
The specs we already know all about include the 7-inch screen, multitouch, two cameras (front and back) and RIM’s own tablet OS. In the flesh, it’s impressive. The first thing that strikes you is the size – it’s not a large tablet, by any means, and is much more along the lines of the Samsung Galaxy Tab than the iPad.
There’s six buttons sit at the bottom of the home screen, and you can swipe across to view the buttons pertaining to All, Internet, Media and Games. The top half of the home screen is dedicated to the apps you already have running. And these are ‘live’ which means if you’ve got a video playing, it’ll continue to run in miniature on that home screen. This is also evident if you open a gaming tab – Quake III continued to play alongside the video.
To initially exit an app, such as a video that’s playing, you drag your finger from the bottom frame to the top of the screen. This then minimizes it on the home screen. To kill it dead, you swipe up from the thumbnail to the top of the screen.
To bring up the keyboard, you can swipe at any time from the bottom left hand corner diagonally, towards the middle of the screen. Typing seemed responsive, and for a small tablet, the buttons don’t seem too small.
It’s difficult to draw final conclusions when a tablet is tethered to a desk – who knows how it’ll cope in the real world. However, there’s no doubting that in its current form it’s slick, easy to use and seems to have no problem coping with several processor hungry tasks at once. With the BlackBerry Playbook, RIM just might have cracked it.