As soon as Apple launched its iPad a few months back, Steve Jobs lit a very slow burning fuse on what would inevitably become the tablet PC wars. Perhaps other manufacturers looked at the touch screen tablet and believed that consumers would not react to something that offered very few functions over and above the average smartphone but in a slightly larger package and without actual phone calling capabilities.
Or, maybe, Apple just managed to steal a serious march on their opponents.
Either way, it has taken a while but the likes of Samsung and Dell at least look to be taking more than a passing interest in the whole idea and RIM, makers of the Blackberry range of smartphones, have now thrown their hat into the tablet PC ring with the official announcement of the reasonably long rumoured PlayBook (although you may know of it better as the BlackPad which was the title of the rumoured device).
First things first, the PlayPad is small at just 7 inches. It also seems more likely to be geared towards the business end of the spectrum, meaning that RIM and Apple are taking their current roles from the Smartphone wars with them. It will be compatible with Blackberry Enterprise Servers when it is released in the US.
It sounds like the PlayBook will not offer actual phone features either, stating instead that cellular capable versions will be available in the future. It will offer pairing between Blackberry smartphones and the tablet which will allow users to connect their phone to their tablet PC and enjoy greater multimedia options and storage options.
It does support Flash as well as HTML 5 and the high quality screen ensures that users can enjoy a rich multimedia experience too.
Realistically, RIM looks to have tried to find a way to enter the tablet market without really having to pitch itsself fully against bitter rival Apple and it could prove a good move.