After months of chatter and rumours, Research in Motion has confirmed the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook, a 7-inch tablet for business savvy consumers.

"This is a really special announcement I've been saving for DEVCON", said the company's CEO Michael Lazaridis at the company's DEVCON 2010 conference in San Francisco.

The new device, previously called the BlackPad, will run a completely new operating system called QNX, which the company bought earlier in the year, rather than its BlackBerry OS as found on its smartphones, such as the BlackBerry Torch and Bold handsets.

"It's an amplified view of what's already on your BlackBerry", says Lazaridis.

The new tablet will be always on, ultra mobile, sport an ultra thin 7-inch display, and feature HTML5 and full Flash 10.1 support. It will measure just 9.7mm thick.

In addition, the PlayBook will offer 1080p HD video support with non-proprietary HDMI and USB connections.

There will be two cameras, both HD, front and back, the CEO confirmed at the company's keynote.

"You'll be able to run two screens at the same time", said Lazaridis, suggesting that it will be ideal for presentations, allowing one of them to have a presentation pumped out to a bigger projection screen, while notes can be displayed on the other to read from.

Spec details are:

-- 7" LCD, 1024 x 600, WSVGA, capacitive touch screen with full multi-touch
and gesture support
-- BlackBerry Tablet OS with support for symmetric multiprocessing
-- 1 GHz dual-core processor
-- 1 GB RAM
-- 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
-- Wi-Fi - 802.11 a/b/g/n
-- Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
-- Connectors: microHDMI, microUSB, charging contacts
-- Open, flexible application platform with support for WebKit/HTML-5,
Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR, Adobe Reader, POSIX, OpenGL,
-- 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)
-- Additional features and specifications of the BlackBerry PlayBook will
be shared on or before the date this product is launched in retail
-- RIM intends to also offer 3G and 4G models in the future.

RIM says the new BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to be available in retail outlets and other channels in the United States in early 2011, with rollouts in other international markets beginning in (calendar) Q2.

UPDATE: PHOTOS: BlackBerry PlayBook Eyes on

UPDATE 2: Check out our BlackBerry PlayBook vs Apple iPad vs Samsung Galaxy Tab. Which one is the best?

Will the PlayBook have what it takes to challenge the competition? Have your say in the comments below...