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BlackBerry PlayBook brings game, but it's a war

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The BlackBerry PlayBook's price and performance is garnering praise from reviewers. How will it compete with the iPad when it goes on sale Tuesday?

Prices for the PlayBook Wi-Fi range from $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for a 32GB, and $699 for the 64GB tablet. There are plans for a Sprint version to come later.

The PlayBook has a lot of appeal. Free tethering with RIM phones and wireless file transfer will be big draws for BlackBerry users.

Smaller than the iPad, its screen is 7-inches which makes for more agile handling than with Apple's tablet. The smaller form factor makes it more mobile whereas the iPad more accurately just portable.

It has a 3MP front and a 5MP rear camera. There is an Micro HDMI output and its sound quality has been praised. RIM claims a robust 10 hours of battery life.

Here is the but. RIM has gamed up on the PlayBook's hardware for a software fight.

Other than Flash, the tablet's software support is scant compared to the iPad. That said, not everyone needs tens of thousands of apps. The BlackBerry faithful who may appreciate the PlayBook's integrated features may find all they need or want in RIM's catalog of 3,000 or so apps.

The PlayBook is not the tablet for everyone, but it may appeal enough to BlackBerry's core to give RIM a fighting chance.

Photo Gallery: BlackBerry PlayBook

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About the blogger

matthewmugMatthew Fortner has been at The News & Observer since 2002. He has a passion for gadgets, cutting-edge technology and all things geek.
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