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RIM edges in on iPad with BlackBerry Playbook tablet

Tablet computing just got a little more productive. Or at least, that’s what you had better get your boss to believe if you want the company to shell out for the new BlackBerry PlayBook, an iPad competitor announced at RIM’s developer’s conference in San Francisco on Monday.

The seven-inch tablet follows in the conservative footsteps of RIM’s smartphones by promising enterprise compatibility out of the box for serious work capability, with all the goodies of other tablets stacked on top. Most notably, RIM is pushing a “full” Web experience, meaning Flash compatibility, true multitasking, and face-to-face videoconferencing.

Like RIM’s phones, the PlayBook will take on an unassuming gloss black design with rounded edges – a shrunken iPad gone corporate. Specs include a 7-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen, 1GHz dual-core processor, HDMI output, and dual HD cameras – a 3-megapixel front cam and a 5-megapixel in the back, which will be capable of recording full 1080p video.

Confirming earlier rumors, the tablet won’t run RIM’s BlackBerry OS 6 operating system, but a new operating system from QNX, a company RIM scooped up back in April.

Following the release of Apple’s iOS-powered iPad back in April, all other major smartphone operating systems have begun the transition to tablets. HP promised a webOS tablet back in August, Samsung drummed up Android tablet hype with the Galaxy Tab, and now BlackBerry has completed the circle with the Playbook. The only player missing: Microsoft, which has continued to push Windows 7 as a viable tablet platform with Atom-powered tablets like the Archos 9.

Check out a video preview of the PlayBook from BlackBerry below.