Feb 19, 2011

BlackBerry 4G PlayBook Launching on Sprint Summer 2011

Demos of the BlackBerry Playbook we've seen up to this point have been looking nice--shockingly nice, in fact. RIM's BlackBerry phone UIs may not measure up to iOS or Android, but the PlayBook's new OS shows signs of being an extremely compelling tablet experience.

Today RIM finally announced how and when we'll be able to get our hands on the PlayBook: RIM is teaming up with Sprint to launch the tablet on Sprint's network this summer.

The Sprint version of the PlayBook will be launching with a slightly different name: the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook.

Available exclusively from Sprint this summer, the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook will launch with WiMAX connectivity and will be the first model to include 4G connectivity. In Other words, don't expect the 4G Sprint model to be the only PlayBook in town. We'll no doubt see an LTE model sometime in 2011, but Sprint has first dibs on a 4G-branded tablet.

RIM hoped to launch the tablet in early 2011 for under $500. With the first 4G model hitting stores this summer, it's possible a Wi-Fi or 3G version could ship out earlier.

Engadget got some hands on time with the tablet on the show floor at CES and seemed pleased as punch with the OS performance powered by the PlayBook's dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor and gig of RAM. Looks like the PlayBook is an early contender for best tablet of 2011.

By Wesley Fenlon, www.tested.com

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