BlackBerry maker Research In Motion just announced its iPad rival at its developers conference in San Francisco.

The PlayBook is aimed at business customers, co-chief executive Michael Lazaridis said during a speech at the conference.

The device is 9.7 millimetres thick and features a seven-inch touch screen. That’s smaller than the iPad’s 9.7-inch display.

It can run both HTML 5 and Flash 10.1 and has a one gigahertz dual-core processor with one gigabyte of RAM.

BlackBerry smartphone users can pair their handset with the PlayBook using a Bluetooth connection to view their email, calendar, documents or other content.

The PlayBook also features front- and rear-facing cameras to support video conferencing and allows multi-tasking between programs.

The fact PlayBook users can route data through BlackBerry smartphones instead of paying for separate telecom service should prove a selling point in the business and personal markets.

RIM said that in the coming weeks it would release a software kit so third-party developers can begin tailoring applications, or “apps,” for PlayBook.

The tablet will be available in the U.S. in early 2011 and in other countries in the second quarter, RIM said. The company didn’t give a price for the device.

Source: AFP