Earlier this week Research In Motion unveiled its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The system looks to be quite formidable and with RIM's clout in the smartphone market the device clearly has some strong backing.
The first question that would spring to mind is whether the PlayBook is an "iPad Killer" device which would eat into Apple's market share and woo current iPad users. The more realistic question, however, is whether the PlayBook even wants to be an iPad killer.
From the earliest moments of its introduction, RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis made sure to call the PlayBook a "business tablet," heavy emphasis on the "business" part. While the BlackBerry may be trying to push into the consumer space, the PlayBook looks to be a device targeted at the business customers that currently run BlackBerry hardware. If that is the case, it will be a long time before the two devices really clash in the market, as Apple has yet to pitch the iPad as anything other than a consumer and light business use device.
And that difference could be what helps the PlayBook and iPad thrive. Since the iPad was released IT departments have been faced with users who want to run their tablets on the enterprise network, and Apple's tight nature with opening up its products to third parties has made for some headaches in areas such as management and compliance.
With the PlayBook, BlackBerry-heavy IT departments now have a tablet to supply to employees and executives that is designed to work with existing security and management policies. The iPad remains a personal and consumer device, and the PlayBook serves as a business tablet. It could work out well for both companies.
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