Hey mobile app developers, you want a free BlackBerry PlayBook? Yeah, of course you do. Well, if you’ve been taking the last couple of weeks to play around with the AIR SDK for RIM’s first tablet, you can now submit your final work to the BlackBerry App World and get a free PlayBook if it’s accepted before launch. Speaking of which, the terms and conditions say the offer is over on February 1, lending more credence to the rumoured February release date. Before you start getting any ideas about submitting some useless fart app, RIM is disqualifying any web launchers, browsers, or basically anything they think won’t be of particular value to end-users. The model they’re giving out is a 16 GB version too, which may be a deterrent if you had you heart set on a 64 GB PlayBook.
I’m pretty excited for the BlackBerry PlayBook, considering its specs are far and above what we usually expect from RIM: it has a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi (3G and 4G modules coming soon), 5 megapixel camera on the back, 3 megapixel video conferencing camera on the front, HDMI-out, and a brand new operating system based on QNX, which should provide stable multitasking and rich multimedia with little demand on the battery.
Baiting developers with free devices (especially ones as nice as the BlackBerry PlayBook) strikes me as a classier way to go about attracting interest rather than, say, throwing money at developers, though I wouldn’t be surprised if RIM’s doing that too. AIR is certainly a popular development platform, but I think things will get really interesting when other environments are supported and the PlayBook can draw on a more universal appeal. Populating BlackBerry App World prior to launch will be critical to the device’s success, considering how much of a head start Apple’s iPad and the Android Market have.
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