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PlayBook: A Tablet With a Case Of Codependency (Wall St. Journal)

April 14, 2011  |  by John Heithaus

By WALTER S. MOSSBERG, WSJ

Now entering the tablet wars: the BlackBerry PlayBook, a contender from Research In Motion, maker of the iconic smartphone.

Unlike most tablets aiming to take on the iPad juggernaut, the PlayBook, which I’ve been testing for five days, doesn’t run on Google’s Android operating system, nor does it run on RIM’s own aging phone software. It uses a new tablet OS that is handsome and quick, and looks different from Apple’s and Google’s. I enjoyed the user interface.

But that isn’t the biggest distinction between the PlayBook and the other tablets. This first edition of the PlayBook has no built-in cellular data connection and lacks such basic built-in apps as an email program, a contacts program, a calendar, a memo pad and even RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger chat system.

To get these features with your $500 PlayBook, you must use it with a nearby BlackBerry phone connected to it wirelessly over a short-range Bluetooth connection. Once this link is made, these critical applications pop up on the PlayBook’s screen, via a system called Bridge.

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