By Marcus Leach

With the iPad 2 leading the way when it comes to tablets there is plenty of healthy competition emerging from competing manufacturers. The new Blackberry Playbook seems to be a genuine challenger, and we find out why.

A report, Are Tablets Set for Enterprise Primetime, carried out by leading US based market research company, Strategy Analytics, found that the increasing power, range and availability of tablet devices is driving their growth in the workplace.

So no better time for the Blackberry Playbook, the first tablet released by Research in Motion (RIM), to hit the market. Whilst some of RIM's smartphones may have been lacking the Playbook seems to be the real deal.

The initial feeling is that, despite the relatively short time period it took to turn it into a concept, the Playbook has what it takes to become a serious alternative to the iPad.

So what are the key features?

- Ultra thin and portable:

- Measures 5.1"x7.6"x0.4" (130mm x 193mm x 10mm)

- Weighs less than a pound (approximately 0.9 lb or 400g)

- 7" LCD, 1024 x 600, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch and gesture support

- BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing

- Texas Instruments OMAP4430 Processor, Dual Core @ 1GHz

- IVA 3 hardware accelerators enable full HD 1080p, multi-standard video encode/decode

- Faster, higher-quality image and video capture with digital SLR-like imaging up to 20 megapixels

- Dual-core ARM® Cortex -A9 MPCore with Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP)

- Integrated POWERVR SGX540 graphics accelerator drives 3D gaming and 3D user interfaces

- 1 GB RAM

- Memory: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions to be available

- 5300mAh battery

- Dual HD cameras (3 MP front facing, 5 MP rear facing), supports 1080p HD video recording

- Video playback: 1080p HD Video, H.264, MPEG, DivX, WMV

- Audio playback: MP3, AAC, WMA

- HDMI video output

- GPS and Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n

- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

- Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, 3.5mm headset port, charging contacts

- Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5, Adobe Flash Player 10.2, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL, Java

The technology is there, and the designers at RIM have ensured this is a serious business tool, despite there being the usual collection of games, so there is every chance that it will compete with the iPad.

However, as we saw with the iPad the second version was much improved, so whilst the Playbook seems to be the real deal it is worth remembering an inevitable second version will be much improved.