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BlackBerry Tablet Confirmed, Supports Flash 159 159

HouseMuzik writes "Betanews' Tim Conneally reports that sources close to RIM have confirmed the existence of a BlackBerry Tablet device, with a ship date by the end of the year. Previous reporting on the device was confirmed by the source, including a 7" screen and a 1GHz processor. The source added that the device would support Flash, and would include a hardware-based Flash accelerator. Betanews' reporting seems to confirm an earlier report that quoted Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar as saying the BlackBerry Tablet indeed existed."
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BlackBerry Tablet Confirmed, Supports Flash

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  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @08:57AM (#32885860) Homepage

    Make ANY tablet able to function as a Wacom or Cintiq, including the pressure sensitivity. You will lock in the Internet Comic business almost instantly.

    There are other things required in order to be a true mainstream hit (which the iPad is, admittedly, fairly close to fulfilling), but creating a niche product that has been requested by pretty much everyone in the industry would certainly be a smart move.

  • by El Neepo (411885) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:00AM (#32885884)

    Does Flash support really make or break the deal when buying a smartphone or a tablet? Do people really double think that iPhone/iPad purchase just because of Flash? Does anyone even on Slashdot go Android just because of Flash?

    Maybe I'm biased as I have an iPad but lacking Flash is a minor annoyance at best. If I switched to some other OS for a tablet or smartphone, Flash support is way at the bottom of the list of features I would switch for.

    Personally, I think Flash needs to just die as it's only used for games and annoying ads.

    Also, I really don't see why Flash should be in the headline. Unless BlackBerry is really targetting the Farmville segment of users.

  • by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:01AM (#32885898)
    I currently have a BlackBerry, and the operating system is horrid. I regularly have to pull the battery because the device's media processor gets tied up by software malfunctions, preventing ringtones from being played. The browser currently crashes entirely when viewing any Wikipedia page. Even sending a text message can take up to 90 seconds from the time I hit send and the time the device is usable again, apparently due to some ridiculously bad programming on the part of whoever wrote the message display software.

    I am currently thinking about getting an iPad to replace my personal laptop entirely, probably after a few more first adopter issues get sorted out and I am convinced that I can carry on my normal workflow with it, browsing web pages and being able very quickly to switch to read and reply to instant messages and e-mails (which will most likely be in another browser window until a better Gmail app with threading becomes available), etc. I have an iPod Touch and believe that there is actual potential for the iPad to effectively replace my personal laptop. I also have a BlackBerry and I can't imagine a larger version of it being even the least bit useful.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:10AM (#32885994)
    BBOS has been stuck in some usability quagmire since the Quark. RIM knew that business users don't like being bombarded with a constant stream of change, so they sat on their laurels and did absolutely nothing with their captive, well-moneyed audience. Not a damn thing. Now they're little more than a third-tier also-ran struggling to become relevant once again. Sorry, this tablet is far too little, far too late.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:10AM (#32886012) Homepage

    I've got a Curve 8330 myself. Even though it has the latest OS (v4.5.0.175), it will still reboot on its own. Quite annoying. And yes, the processor is slow. I wish I hadn't updated Opera Mini. It's so damn slow, the mouse cursor skips all over the place. I will be dumping it for a Droid soon.

  • Trackpad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zaffle (13798) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:12AM (#32886040) Homepage Journal
    Of course, in the tradition of blackberry, the device will be a tablet with a keyboard, and won't have a touch screen. Fortunately they will instead use the new trackpad, instead of the trackball. Blackberry don't have a good record with touchscreen... In fact, its pretty atrocious. People forget, the touchscreen is what makes a device. This is why iPhone, iPad, etc are so popular, Apple have nailed the touchscreen. (btw - in case anyone accuses me of otherwise - Avid blackberry user, hate the iPhone, love the blackberry, but I call it like it is - Apple ownz touchscreens).
  • Underwhelmed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:12AM (#32886052) Homepage Journal

    I really like my Blackberry. As a phone. It's nigh indestructible, and the OS is ideal for the itsy bitsy 2.5" screen. I can even buy aftermarket replacement parts for it (trackball). However the smartphone industry has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last year. As much as I am satisfied with my BlackBerry, I know it's so far behind the curve now that even their new OS 5 can't save them now. My next phone will for sure be an Android device, maybe an iPhone. Even the new "Windows Phone 7" isn't completely distasteful. Do you really want to buy a consumer device tablet running an outdated OS designed for enterprise users? On an oversized tablet device? There's so many better options out there, starting with the Apple iPad, various Chrome/Android products in the works, and HP has a WebOS tablet in the works. But something running the Blackberry OS in this day and age simply looks....antiquated. RIM may never catch up in the smartphone OS race at this point; I think the BB Storm is proof of that. And with the Motorola Charm [google.com] on the horizon... well, we come to bury RIM, not praise their outdated OS.

  • by gaspyy (514539) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:21AM (#32886138)

    It's actually important for me.
    From Google Analytics and Yahoo Finance to a game I play daily I rely on Flash. I actually like flash. I also like to be able to write my own flash app and to be able to install it on a device.

    I seriously considered buying an iPad, but I decided against it due to lack of flash and MKV support (I understand there is a player albeit very buggy).

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @09:23AM (#32886154) Homepage

    That's two strikes, I'm waiting for the third.

    It's not that blackberry can't make an OS...it's just that their OS isn't one I want to use for recreational purposes. Corporate email? Ok, they've got that locked up, I'll grant them that. But usable might be a bit of a stretch.

    And a tablet? It's a niche market, at best. Sure, because apple released a tablet everyone's nipples are hard for one, but honestly it's a flash in the pan. What app will really drive people to a device with no keyboard, or any physical input method whatsoever? Portable media player is about all I've got here.

  • by webdog314 (960286) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @10:25AM (#32886956)

    I would agree with you, but not so specifically. Any pressure-sensitive tablet capable of running Photoshop would be an instant winner in the art community, especially if it were priced around that of the iPad. The trend into digital illustration is huge, and not just in the comic industry, but frankly, working on a split screen/tablet format sucks. It's certainly doable (as I can personally attest) but it's a FAR cry from working directly on a medium.

    The problem with this is that it's self defeating. The moment you bring ANY form of input device (other than your fingers, which most of us always have with us) back to the tablet, it completely changes the user experience to the point that the device risks falling back out of the "tablet" definition altogether. Would the "stylus" be required for input? It is on any Wacom device.

    While such a device is a pipe-dream for artists (and has been for a LONG time), I seriously doubt the public wants to give up the versatility of finger gestures in favor of a pen, even a pressure-sensitive one.

  • Re:Underwhelmed? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:00AM (#32887612) Homepage

    running an outdated OS designed for enterprise users?

    Enterprise user here. Apart from the exchange support and BES (which is admittedly quite nifty and unique), I certainly wouldn't argue that Blackberry's OS fits our needs to a T. In fact, we're routinely frustrated by almost all aspects of it.

    I've said this many times, but it bears repeating -- The first phone manufacturer who can make a product that functions as a drop-in replacement for BES will capture the enterprise smartphone market. It's ripe for the picking.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:06AM (#32887712)

    "Does Flash support really make or break the deal when buying a smartphone or a tablet?"

    I don't own an ipad because it lacks Flash. The primary reason I wanted a tablet was because I wanted a home viewer for legitimate streaming sites, many which are Flash based and encrypt the video data. Having a general purpose browser that worked well without restrictions would be a benefit. The ipad doesn't match either of these because it lacks Flash. Adobe is partly to blame, since they don' t have a clear Flash spec, but Apple is, to me, being the worse player, since they've restricted other programs and content from the app store.

    There are other issues with the ipad, such as not being 16:9, or high enough resolution to adequate handle letterboxing in a 4:3 ratio, but they aren't deal breakers. Not being able to use common sites the way I want them, without a custom app released by that site, is annoying.

    "Also, I really don't see why Flash should be in the headline"

    Then you don' t use Flash, and are happy not using Flash. Not everyone is like you. Many people want Flash. As such, the company that puts out a decent device with Flash may win over that population of buyers who are interested in owning a tablet which supports Flash.

    This is why Android 2.2, which supports 10.1, is to most people the tablet they may be waiting for, if device makers can put out a decent hardware package.

    Maybe, I'm guessing, you're not a regular /. reader then either, as you don't seem to know you own an Apple product that has been lambasted for months for being closed, restricted, crippled, and lacking development tools, Flash often being cited as an example in all these cases.

    Steve Jobs wrote an open letter criticizing Flash, and even belittled Adobe that they were late in getting Flash to mobile devices and having them worked well.

    Then of course, Adobe released Flash 10.1 in final candidate for supposedly the upcoming Android release, and has been releasing decent Flash updates like 10.1 for most general purpose computing, and as a result, in my mind, become the second company to show in the past few months that Steve Jobs's way of thinking is backwards and old.

    Jobs says AT&T is great and has great plans.

    AT&T screws users with revamped plans.

    Jobs talks about how great the iphone is, which runs pretty much the same OS as the ipad in its current gen. Tech folks point out Android devices have been making huge gains into that market.

    It's the Macintosh and Windows debate all over again. Jobs hasn't grown up. Except this time, it's not MS with the general platform, it's Google, and Google is far superior to MS when it comes to putting out more open, clear products (even though it'll stay in beta for years).

  • by masmullin (1479239) <masmullin@gmail.com> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @11:23AM (#32888002)
    flash delivered the streaming world cup games. flash delivers lots of interviews from some of my favourite sites. flash delivers a HELL of a lot of content that I miss on my iPad. I can live without it... but I dont particularly want to.
  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@@@worf...net> on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @12:34PM (#32889060)

    To be fair, the version of Flash that people are installing on their iPads is a hacked version of the Flash Player 10.1 for Android that was just barely released a couple weeks ago. It still has a lot of issues with Flash that requires hover actions, and playing back video at a decent framerate. Most of the complaints I've seen are that it is impossible to scrub video because the controls are too tiny to actually tap on with a finger.

    Personally, I don't blame Apple for not including it with the iPad - It wasn't even available when the iPad was released, and it doesn't have the user experience Apple products are known for - trying to watch Flash video that is so small you can't even click on the play or pause button is going to be an exercise in frustration for anyone.

    Once Adobe fixes these bugs, I have a feeling we might see something change from Apple, and they may include it with a future release of iOS or Safari.

    More fundamentally, only the iPad meets the requirements for Flash. Adobe's Flash Player for Android requires a minimum 1GHz processor. Only the iPad has it (the iPhone 4 is rumored to be a 600-800MHz processor). Not a problem for Android since all the good ones all have 1GHz processors (pretty much out of necessity to get a really nice and smooth running phone). But Apple's not ramping up the CPU speed (they don't need to - even the 3GS with its 600MHz CPU is really speedy).

    Jobs' next challenge for Adobe would be to get Flash running "great" on an iPhone 4 or something, which would be about 20% slower than the Android phones it already runs on, or this Blackberry device.

    (And Jobs could easily force Adobe's hand by requiring third-party platforms support new features by new OS release date. App store apps using said platform will be removed until updated runtimes are available. Thus, native developers have advantages in having apps ready all the time, while those reliant on 3rd party platforms get locked out until the platform is updated. And everyone saves face, except Adobe has to work harder in getting their Flash updates in time with iOS updates...).

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:12PM (#32889674) Journal

    If we're going to credit anyone with popularising tablets, thank the media.

    No, thank Apple for putting themselves into a position such that the media will create hype over any new Apple product release. Which is entirely Apple's doing.

    But it's still very rare for me to see anyone with a tablet (and when I have, it wasn't from Apple).

    I don't know where you're looking, but my anecdotal experience does not support this. For one thing, where none of my friends and acquaintances had any kind of tablet before, a few have iPad now (not all are happy about it, but that's another story). For another, I still see a lot of people around several stands with iPads in the local Best Buy - so much so that they sometimes have to queue up because there aren't enough for everyone.

    Kick Apple for being closed - fair enough; but denying that iPad is already a huge success in market terms is just delusional.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @01:54PM (#32890354) Homepage
    And doesn't work well. The digitizer is 'grafted on' as opposed to 'designed in' and it shows. The company is about to go bankrupt. Most of the software support to make the thing usable has been done by a couple of users, not the company.

    It's just like most of the Windows tablets - a hack job that's close to being useful (and indeed useful enough in edge cases) but never given enough engineering love to get the hardware and software to work together. I'm quite sure it will go the way of those tablet PCs: production will cease, the several thousand people who have fallen in love with them will band together and complain endlessly in some remote corner of the Internet and try to scarf old ones off of eBay.
  • Your "minimum 1GHz processor" argument is complete bullshit. The N800 had a 400 MHz processor (ARM-based, like iToPhoPad) and could run full Flash 9 just fine (it came with the device). This was three years ago, in the relatively early days of the iPhone, which actually had a more powerful CPU IIRC. Yes, hover was tricky, and yes, it used battery life more quickly, but it *worked* just fine.

    There is not, and never was, a legitimate technical reason for lack of Flash on Apple's mobiles. Linux and OS X aren't identical, of course, but but don't try to tell me that Nokia could get Adobe to port Flash to Linux on ARM but Apple couldn't get them to port it to OS X on ARM. Even if that ever was the case, you can be damn sure Adobe would have been willing to do it in the intervening years, seeing Apple's sales numbers (the N800 and N810 were better devices from a nerd's technical perspective, but didn't have the mass-market appeal).

  • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday July 13, 2010 @08:49PM (#32894730)

    Which is indeed what Jobs and some people here no doubt believe, but remember it's not true. Tablets were around before the Islate or whatever they called it, and they're still not mainstream after Apple's tablet.

    Indeed. This is why I compare the Ipad to the Apple Lisa. In the end it's a product that is less useful and more expensive then previous products. If tablets become popular it will end up being the same story the Ipad will be forced out by cheaper, more competitive tablets from other manufacturers much the same as the Lisa was ignored in favour of the cheaper and more ubiquitous IBM PC's of the 80's.

    Of course the fanboys will talk up how nothing can match the Ipad's supreme interface or some such, but remember that Apple fanboys of the 80's talked up protected memory. The Ipad will either be another tablet that goes nowhere or be overtaken by US$2-300 tablets.

Computer Science is the only discipline in which we view adding a new wing to a building as being maintenance -- Jim Horning