BlackBerry PlayBook: up close

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon

On the same day that the BlackBerry PlayBook has been unleashed in the US, RIM invited the CNET team to their offices to get up close and personal with the 7-inch tablet for ourselves. We have seen the PlayBook a few times before, but this was the first time we could actually use the tablet without a RIM rep controlling the experience.

This hands-on time reaffirmed what we have thought about the PlayBook all along. Its combination of size, weight and performance is extremely impressive, and the button-less gesture-controlled interface is far better designed for tablet-use than iOS navigation on iPad and Google's Honeycomb tablet OS (though we do love Android's widgets). Curiously, some US reviewers have called the navigation confusing, but we completely disagree. As you can see in the video, the entire user-experience is driven by swiping gesture, beginning on the tablet's bezel and continuing over the screen, so swiping from the bottom up takes you to the homescreen, swiping from right to left activates multitasking and swiping from the top down shows a context-sensitive menu for the app you're using.

We had been hoping to see RIM's Android app emulator in action during this visit, but this is still a work in progress. Word on the street is that RIM will unveil this incredibly important tool for PlayBook during BlackBerry World in Florida next month.

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Andrew1953 posted a comment   

Looks like a brilliant,well thought out piece of kit that should do well and thoroughly deservesn to.As a crackberry enthusiast I really hope it does as RIM has put alot of time and effort into the Playbook.

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