Sprint kills its plans to offer a 4G WiMAX enabled BlackBerry PlayBook

Sprint kills its plans to offer a 4G WiMAX enabled BlackBerry PlayBook
Call it yet another blow to RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook, but their partner in Sprint appears to be dropping out from offering a 4G WiMAX enabled version of the tablet. Obviously, it’s a surprise to everyone, especially when it was announced that cellular enabled versions of the tablet would finally come to market some time in the fall.

From the sound of it all, Sprint’s reasoning in killing the 4G WiMAX PlayBook is due to the amount of confusion it might cause with your average consumer. Actually, Sprint’s very own President of business markets group, Paget Alves, said that “It's an interesting concept, it just hasn't caught on with business customers as much as they would like. There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer.”

In trying to mend the deep wound in the near term, Sprint is adamant that their decision won’t affect their current and future relationship with RIM – and of course, it shows seeing that they’re on board to offer new smartphones from them later in the year. Additionally, the PlayBook’s presence will still be felt with Sprint because they’re going to continue to sell the Wi-Fi only version of the tablet.

Knowing that a major partner in the US is dropping their plans to offer a cellular connected version of the PlayBook, it’s going to be interesting how things will pan out with other partners. Will AT&T and Verizon end up following the same path as Sprint? Regardless, it shows that RIM really needs to do something monumental very soon to keep their tablet from fading away with consumers – like possibly bringing Android app support and a native email client sooner than later.

source: Wall Street Journal via Mobileburn

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