Finally, the much rumored Blackberry PlayBook may be about to launch. Users have been waiting for this tablet for some time, but it seems that Research in Motion (RIM) have struggled to get this 4G tablet on the market.
The new model is now expected to launch in Canada through Bell as soon as July 31. The blog site MobileSyrup, quoting a Bell internal document has said the tablet will be launched with a selling price of $549.95. The Bell document further reveals the tablet has a 7 inch 1,024 x 600 pixel display, sports a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
Operating on Blackberry OS 2.0, the PlayBook has a 5 megapixel rear camera and 3 megapixel front camera, capable of 1080p videos. Thrown in as part of the package, users can expect 4G LTE and HSPA+ support.
Blackberry has been working on this project some time, with the 4G PlayBook being a long time in the works. RIM had first announced the development of the tablet back at the Mobile World Congress in 2011. Initially, Sprint had planned to introduce a 4G PlayBook using its WiMax network, but it is understood that RIM wanted to switch its focus to LTE and as a result, the earlier plans were cancelled.
So, with the launch of the PlayBook, clearly the focus will now be on how the market receives the product and what interest there will be in the tablet. Certainly, it is clear that this is already a competitive market with many attractive and tested tablets available already in the marketplace, especially the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7, which have seen a significant demand in the 7 inch tablet market. There is likely to be a robust demand also for the iPad Mini that is expected to be released by Apple later this year.
Since the Kindle Fire and Google Nexus 7 are already available, we know these are Wi-Fi only tablets and it is unclear at this stage whether the iPad Mini, like the PlayBook, would support 4G. With the benefit of 4G, it is possible the PlayBook would appeal to a market not already catered for with the Fire and Nexus.
Research in Motion (RIM) became a global leader in wireless innovation when it revolutionized the mobile industry with the introduction of the Blackberry in 1999. However, since that time, following introduction of other competing products, its market share has declined, losing 95% of its share since 1999. So severe has been the effect, that it was reported recently that the company had started to liquidate assets, with its jet being sold in order to reduce the operating budget.
In a move to try and stop the slide and gain an upturn in its fortunes, the company has recently launched a $100M initiative to try and attract and retain innovation through an exciting developers program. That news itself shows that RIM acknowledges the need to re-establish themselves in the marketplace. It is yet to be seen whether the launch of the PlayBook is a successful first step.