RIM is now encouraging developers to download its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet SDK (Software Development Kit). In addition, it has offered up a beta version of its PlayBook simulation software, in order for app creators to check that their software is running correctly.

The latter is a 106MB download, available for free, and it allows you to have a glimpse at what features the forthcoming tablet is going to offer.

All you have to do to get a version up and running is sign a form on the BlackBerry developers website, download the file, install it, load the resulting ISO into VMPlayer (to create a virtual machine), and Bob's your uncle and Fanny's a rude word. Erm.

Okay, you might not fancy the fairly complicated process, but thankfully RIM has released the following key details on its tablet OS, to give you a tantalising taste:

- Based on the proven QNX Neutrino RTOS, which powers mission-critical systems on the space station, government defence systems, life-saving medical devices and millions of in-car systems.

- Reliable, high-performance kernel engineered for multi-core hardware.

- Multi-threaded POSIX OS (Portable Operating System for Unix) for true multitasking.

- Built from the ground up to run WebKit and Adobe FlashBuilt with the security, efficiency and seamless connectivity from the ground up you’d expect from RIM.

And Pocket-lint is currently going through the simulation software to find out all of the other new and funky features, so that you don't have to. Catch up with us later to see screengrabs and find out what we think of the GUI.

UPDATE: Screengrabs and hands-on thoughts are now available.

Think that the PlayBook could seriously rival the iPad? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

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