Does Size Matter? RIM’s PlayBook slated for Q1 2011, but does Apple correctly predict it D.O.A.?

All seven-inch tablets will be dead on arrival.

This includes Dell’s smaller Streak model, possibly the Windows tablet, and certainly the more noteworthy Playbook.

RIM’s seven-inch Playbook is now officially slated for early 2011. It may be three inches less than Apple’s ludicrously popular iPad device, but it certainly measures up elsewhere. Doubling the RAM of Apple’s tablet, the Playbook boasts front- and rear-facing cameras where the iPad has none, as well as multitasking – yet another weakness the big-screen tech pad is criticized for.

A small-screened but hardware-heavy device could easily trump a big but impotent device like the iPad. However, it should also be noted that Apple can easily add two cameras, plus multitasking, and more – they just choose not to so it’s easier to pump out “revolutionary” new model generations frequently. Thus, Apple may time a new iPad with one or two cameras and some other bonus features in a cruel attempt to eclipe the Playbook launch… but can Apple compete with the Playbook’s less-than-$500 pricetag?

Steve’s D.O.A. comment came well before the pricepoint news came about, so will he eat his words now? Not likely, considering the iPad owns a staggering 95% of the tablet market currently. Nonetheless, he shouldn’t be so quick so denounce his competitors. While the increasingly irrelevant Microsoft may not be a huge concern, Steve shouldn’t underestimate the venerable Waterloo-based Blackberry maker. As Internet Explorer goes the way of Netscape, and the Windows Phone – not to mention the Zune and more – define the very essence of “dead on arrival,” RIM fights hard to remain a dominant player and is far from faltering yet.

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While the Torch has underwhelmed, consider that it is just one of many Blackberrys. The choices RIM offers in phones benefits consumers, who with Apple have but one option. Plus, it skews the numbers – comparing Torch sales to iPhone sales, for example, simply doesn’t make sense.

Negative limelight aside, Blackberry still reigns supreme in corporate communications, and the Playbook is apt to engage a stranglehold in the business realm too. The iPad is fun, but at this point, that’s it. Just for fun.

Then again, this whole thing may indeed be little more than a game for Steve Jobs, whose company of late cannot seem to make a bad product.

Time will tell if size does matter, but RIM is not concerned. Co-CEO Jim Balsillie has mocked Apple, citing a “distortion field,” and has been adamant in not taking Steve’s crap. Jim has stood strong in the face of adveristy, insisting that foreign security obstacles have not affected RIM’s business, that subscriptions are still growing, and that the company isn’t losing market share to emerging competitors.

Neither Jim nor Steve are sweating 2011. But this could just be the calm before the storm.