BlackBerry DevCon Asia 2011 - Asia's Big Show

First Looks - The BlackBerry PlayBook

First Looks - The BlackBerry PlayBook

RIM had a couple of their PlayBooks on display, though getting some personal time with one took some effort and trading of elbows with an enthusiastic developer crowd.

The PlayBook will come in three different capacities of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB of flash memory, though Wade wasn't willing to divulge more on price points other than insisting it would come below the US$500 mark. Internally, the PlayBook will be powered by a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor and 1GB of RAM. Two cameras are built-in; a front-facing 3-megapixel camera and a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera. The 7-inch display has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels.

It must be noted that the PlayBooks available for perusal were locked down tight, as the settings menu was inaccessible, giving us no means of determining the software revision powering the device. Even in prototype form however, the PlayBook was reassuringly solid in terms of heft and feel, while the screen was sharp and clear. Most if not all 3D and multimedia demos shown ran silky smooth and with nary a hitch. Navigating the device, interestingly, also involves heavy use of the bezel surrounding the display, as most swipe gestures usually start and end at the bezel.

Quake 3 Arena was one of the more prominent demos on the PlayBook, clocking in an impressive frame rate of 60fps, though admittedly, there was no way to verify the settings used to run the demo.

In terms of design, the PlayBook features a very heavy industrial influence, with very few rounded corners in favor of strong, square lines.

From left to right: mini HDMI port (for video output to bigger screens), microUSB port (which can also be used to charge the PlayBook), and the magnetic charge connector much like Apple's MagSafe design.

The media control buttons are placed up top, and are also recessed into the bezel.

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