Maybe you’ve heard that Research in Motion, the maker of Blackberry mobile devices, has updated its Playbook tablet to rival the iPad. Or maybe you haven’t, which is one of the company’s biggest challenges today: getting the word out.

People think of RIM as limited to business Blackberry handsets, not consumer products. “That’s a problem,” RIM spokeswoman Pattie McKague said, “because we make very good consumer products.”

That’s why RIM executives gathered in South Florida recently, meeting with local business owners and other potential local users to promote Playbook. “This is an important market to us,” McKague said, adding that the company, which has offices in Sunrise, has learned that what sells here tends to sell elsewhere.

Launched last year, Playbook now has an upgraded operating system — and 15,000 apps available.

Playbook is appealing not only to RIM’s core business customers, but to anyone looking for a multi-tasking media device that allows him to seamlessly check email, browse the Web, peruse downloaded or streamed TV shows and movies — and at a lower price. The WiFi-enabled Playbook starts at $199 for a 16GB version; the iPad starts at $499 for 16GB.

My favorite new tricks: The device meshes email, Twitter and Facebook so you can use all three at once. And it can be connected to an HDTV, enabling you to browse the full Web on a much larger screen.