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RIM's Tablet: A Mobile Social Media Machine

7:15 PM -- I am typing this on a new 16GB RIM PlayBook.

I've been smearing up the seven-inch screen on one of these new tablets from the makers of the BlackBerry phones for about a week now. And I have to say, I am not nearly as so down on the gadget as many as of my peers in the tech press are.

If you consider it a work in progress that can be steadily and automatically updated by RIM over the months to come, then this tablet is a solid initial entry into the iPad-dominated market.

For me, the size and weight are right. The PlayBook slips into the pocket of my favorite leather jacket and is along for the ride when I want to Web-surf, shoot photos or make notes. The touch-screen interface is light years ahead of the Storm and RIM's earlier efforts in this field.

The front and back cameras are of great quality and easy to use. I've been using the device to take notes at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif. this week, and I've been taking copious amounts of photos, which will be in a slide show soon.

Everything works smoothly as long as you have Wi-Fi; in fact, it connects far quicker than my Windows netbook to any open network. The lack of a 3G -- or 4G -- connection is the major drawback for the device. It can be hard to find available hot spots even in Brooklyn and the Bay Area.

If you want to be connected all the time, then you're best off waiting for the 3G and -- hopefully -- 4G versions coming later this year. Unless you use a MiFi device as part of your regular travel setup. [Ed. note: And what kind of idiot wouldn't, eh, Dan?]

If you must have enterprise email, then the PlayBook isn't for you yet, either. As I understand it, RIM will be able to offer over-the-air updates for email in the future. They have certainly been busy revising the operating system in the time I've been playing around with the book.

What the PlayBook is right now is a good tool for photos, videos, updating social media and consuming Web content of all stripes. After all, it is called the PlayBook rather than the WorkBook right?

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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