The Blackberry Playbook is moving closer to the release date sometime in February. They have opened up the SDK to developers, which they can now download. As part of the developer program, developers can potentially get a free Blackberry Playbook if their app is approved and placed into the Blackberry App Store. There are rules associated with participating and runs through February 1st next year, which is a good indication the Playbook will be available some time after that.

We have not seen too many demonstrations of the Playbook, but they are starting to come out, with one yesterday as seen on ComputerWorld with an embedded video from Boy Genius Reports. It is just over 9 minutes to view and is pretty impressive with it being shown in a very small setting. Take the time to watch this.

While the demo was only under the control of someone from RIM, it was fun to actually see the 7 inch Playbook in action. Scrolling on the screen is very smooth and responsive to the touch. Zooming in or out in a similar motion to the iPad worked very well. The viewing of a video produced a great picture and taking the focus off of the video showed it still running in the background. Multitasking is a requirement now a days, so this is great to see. Screen resolution was good running at 1080p and with the dual code cpu, movies should run great.

There are some other features worth noting. They have added bezel’s to the frame around the screen which allow you to make something full screen or minimize something with the swipe of a finger. Hopefully the Playbook can be put in the hands of people who can do their own playing on the tablet and report on their findings.

There were a few things in the video which were strange, if not a cause for concern. The first was the apps, or the lack of a few specific ones in the demo. They asked to see the keyboard and then to demonstrate typing on the keyboard. Since they did not have any app on the Playbook where they could demonstrate this, they could not do it. Shouldn’t there be a built in notepad of some kind? The best guess is there are still some issues with the keyboard they are trying to resolve and did not what to show any problems. The other item of note was a request to browse the web. The answer came back that they did not have a connection. That would have been a great opportunity to demonstrate the ability to tether a Blackberry phone to the Playbook tablet. Strange there was not connection and may be another indication of some things still to be fixed.

This looked like a very stable unit and is close to being ready for release. Issues are going to be software related at this point and we can expect a strong release in February.