Is Research In Motion still, well, in motion? Heck yeah they are. They just unveiled their long-awaited tablet, christened the BlackBerry PlayBook. It’s got a dual-core 1Ghz ARM processor, and it runs… QNX! This alone already makes it the most awesome tablet ever.
This thing… This thing’s got some impressive hardware specifications. It has the already mentioned 1Ghz dual-core ARM processor, but also 1GB of RAM, twocameras (back and front) capable of 1080p video recording, and a 7″ 1024Ã—600 multitouch display. It’s got a whole boatload of connection options as well, of course: HDMI, USB, WiFi, BlueTooth, and 3G and 4G models will arrive later on as well.
All well and good, but we’re of course much more interested in the software stack, and trust me, it brings all the QNX goodness into an easily digestible consumer-oriented sandwich. We’re looking at the QNX Neutrino microkernel (which I detailed in an article six years ago, before I joined OSNews), which has already proven itself in the most mission-critical environments where toy operating systems don’t dare to go – you know, nuclear facilities, medical equipment, stuff that flies through space, that business.
“The Neutrino based microkernel architecture in the BlackBerry Tablet OS delivers exceptional performance, high scalability, Common Criteria EAL 4+ security, and support for industry standard tools that are already familiar to hundreds of thousands of developers,” the press release states, “The OS is fully POSIX compliant enabling easy portability of C-based code, supports Open GL for 2D and 3D graphics intensive applications like gaming, and will run applications built in Adobe Mobile AIR as well as the new BlackBerry WebWorks app platform. The BlackBerry Tablet OS will also support Java enabling developers to easily bring their existing BlackBerry 6 Java applications to the BlackBerry Tablet OS environment.”
The interface, shown in the video below, reminds me a great deal of the webOS, but sharper, more business-like – less cartoony, if you will. It seems to handle multitasking pretty well, and also handles Flash and Adobe AIR, delivering a rather wide pool of software to draw from. RIM calls it “an OS built for developers”.
Speaking of developers, I’m not entirely clear as to how application development is supposed to occur – the press release states that because of the tablet’s Java support, developers can bring their existing BlackBerry OS applications to the tablet; however, on the developer website, they state that you’re supposed to either use HTML5 or Flash.
So, a tablet running QNX. Awesome. I’m betting that this new operating system will eventually find its way to RIM’s smartphones as well. Availability is planned for early 2011.