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Research In Motion (RIM) took the lid off of its rumored tablet device at its developer conference today with the release of the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The PlayBook comes equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen, 1 GHz dual-core processor, front- and back-facing cameras, and support for Flash 10.1, HTML 5 and hardware-accelerated high-definition video.

The tablet connects to the Internet with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and RIM intends to release 3G and 4G models in the future.

RIM based its BlackBerry Tablet OS on its recently acquired QNX Neutrino microkernel architecture. QNX technology is commonly used in in-car entertainment systems.

"It is going to enable a new world of computing you can hold in the power of your hand," said Dan Dodge, co-founder and CEO of QNX, at the conference.

The PlayBook is expected to hit shelves early next year. Pricing details were not announced.

RIM also had some announcements for its BlackBerry operating system and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) platform.

RIM President and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said that BBM is being opened as a social platform for third-party applications. Lazaridis said BBM now has 28 million users worldwide and is adding 1.5 million subscribers per month.

"Recently, CIOs have been asking us to amplify BlackBerry," Lazaridis said, citing the need for larger screens so that users can view full documents and spreadsheets.

The company also launched new payment and mobile advertising services for BlackBerry that will allow developers to include in-app payments and locally relevant advertising to applications.

In addition, RIM unveiled its WebWorks platform, which allows anyone with HTML skills to build apps on the BlackBerry platform – no Java experience necessary.

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