You cannot complain that CTIA started slow, can you? While RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook wasn't announced at the show, it's one of the most anticipated tablets featuring the unique QNX-based BlackBerry Tablet OS – all for $499 for the most basic version. Pre-orders for the 7-inch PlayBook begin today at Best Buy, but wider availability is scheduled for April 19th when the tablet will hit Best Buy stores in the US and Canada. Other retailers such as Staples, Office Depot and RadioShack are also to sell the tablet. Carrier availability includes AT&T, Sprint and Verizon, but not T-Mobile, which is well on its way to becoming AT&T.
Oh, and so much for those early rumors about a $399 price tag! But hey, RIM kept their promise and the price is actually less than $500 by a single penny. This will buy you 0.9lbs (425g) worth of a tablet with a 1GHz dual-core chipset with 1GB of RAM, as well as full HD video recording thanks to the 5-megapixel camera on the back. Prices for different models Wi-Fi-only models are as follows:
What's interesting also is that the
PlayBook page on their website greets you with the “It's game on”
slogan of the tablet. Not very business oriented, isn't it? But it
nevertheless suits the PlayBook part of the tablet's name and indeed the tablet
seems gaming oriented with NFS Undercover and Tetris obviously
running smoothly. But business should also be well covered as is the
custom in RIM. For once, the tablet sports a 3-megapixel front-facing
shooter, perfect for video conferencing. Oh, and it supports Flash.
One thing we hear nothing about is the expected support of Android
apps, but we hope to see the tablet at CTIA and bring you all the additional details soon.