Taking the tablets

Now it’s BlackBerry’s turn. The New York Times report explains:

The introduction of a tablet computer will not end criticism from some analysts that R.I.M. is now playing catch-up with Apple. But in a bid to distinguish the PlayBook from Apple’s iPad, Michael Lazaridis, R.I.M.’s co-chief executive, said that the new tablet contained several features requested by corporate information technology departments.

In an address to conference attendees, Mr. Lazaridis called the PlayBook “the world’s first professional tablet” and repeatedly emphasized that it was fully compatible with the special servers that corporations and governments now used to control and monitor employees’ BlackBerry devices.

While the company offered some specifics about the new device, it left many questions unanswered, most notably the tablet’s price. The company was also vague about its release date, indicating only that it would be available early next year.

Among the PlayBook’s novel features are outlets that allow it to display material on computer monitors or television sets, but Mr. Lazaridis made no effort to use them during his presentation. As animations showing the device’s features appeared above him on a giant screen, he did little more with the PlayBook in his hand than switch it on.

“It’s a very real product,” said Charles S. Golvin, principal analyst with Forrester Research. “But obviously it’s very much a work in progress.”