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Thursday, January 13, 2011, 09:50 pm PT (12:50 am ET)

1M BlackBerry PlayBooks, Wikipedia founder calls App Store 'dangerous,' iPad 2 cameras

A report out of the Far East claims volume production of Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will reach 1 million shipments in the first quarter of 2011, while Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales criticized Apple's App Store as "very dangerous" and a threat to Internet freedom. Finally, more evidence that cameras are coming to Apple's second-generation iPad has been discovered in the iOS 4.3 beta.

PlayBook

According to a report from Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes Friday, manufacturer Quanta Computer has already begun production of the PlayBook, which sources say will reach 1 million units by the end of the quarter. By comparison, Apple sold its first million iPads in just 28 days.

The Wi-Fi only version of the BlackBerry PlayBook will reportedly be released in March, followed by a 3G version with "Push Mail functions." A 4G-enabled version of the tablet is due out this summer on the Sprint network.

The report also notes that Motorola is expected to produce 700,000-800,000 units of the Android-based Xoom tablet. Motorola has outsourced the Xoom to Compal Electronics, with Wi-Fi and 3G-enabled versions coming in the first quarter and an LTE version on Verizon in the second quarter, claimed the report.

Wikipedia

Speaking in a "purely personal capacity" at an event in Bristol, England, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said app stores like Apple's iOS App Store can act as a "chokepoint that is very dangerous."

It is time to ask if the model was "a threat to a diverse and open ecosystem," Wales continued. "We own [a] device, and we should control it."

Wales went on to downplay worry over net neutrality, arguing that many concerns are hypothetical and don't pose an immediate danger. The campaign for net neutrality has elements that are "highly overblown," centering more on fears about what might happen than what is happening.

During the speech, Wales also highlighted a lack of diversity among contributors to Wikipedia, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday. 87 percent of contributors are male, with an average age of 26, and twice as likely to have PhDs as the general population. Wales hopes to improve the site's diversity by simplifying Wikipedia's editing system.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruled in favor of network neutrality, but gave mobile networks an exemption, citing Google's Android mobile OS as a reason to take "measured steps" for wireless carriers.

iPad 2 camera

Engadget reports that evidence of "shutter screens and camera / video icons" has been discovered in the developer build of iOS 4.3, possibly suggesting that the next-generation iPad will indeed feature a camera. According to the report, the icons are optimized for a 1024 x 768 resolution display, the same as the first-generation iPad.

Apple issued the beta on Wednesday, with several new features, including new multitouch gestures and a "Find My Friends" feature tied to MobileMe. The update will also reportedly add the ability to choose between setting the iPad hardware switch as a mute button or an orientation lock.

Code in the iOS 4.3 beta also referred to two new iPhone and three new iPad models. The unannounced iPhones are known as "iPhone4,1" and "iPhone4,2," while the next-generation iPads are referred to as "iPad2,1," "iPad2,2," and "iPad2,3."

Reports of a camera on the second-generation iPad have been strengthened by various sources. In September, AppleInsider exclusively reported that Apple planned to bring FaceTime to the iPad, possibly ahead of the usual 12-month product cycle. More recently, leaked cases allegedly for the iPad 2 have a spot for a rear camera and enlarged speaker grille.