RIM Presents the First, Ahem, “Professional” Tablet

Research in Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridi did his best Steve Jobs impression today, taking the stage to reveal RIM’s new “professional” tablet computer, dubbed the Playbook.

Key to the Playbook’s success will be the health of its app ecosystem. Consumers want to buy devices that offer them a wealth of exciting apps. Android and Apple have achieved that, but so far RIM has not.

RIM seems to be aiming for two constituencies, which only occasionally overlap: gamers and the corporate crowd that has long been the bread and butter of the company’s phone biz. The device appears to have the hardware to make it a strong platform for PC games. But it’s hard to say what exactly defines this tablet as “professional,” except maybe that it integrates with the more secure encryption the company’s phones are known for.

Then again, it’s hard to say what made the iPad “magical,” except for the fact that so many people seem compelled to purchase one by some otherworldy force.