RIM to price PlayBook at under $500

Mark Jones/Rethink Wireless
11 Nov 2010

RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie has revealed that the BlackBerry PlayBook will be available in Q1 next year and will cost less than $500.

The PlayBook, which was announced back in September, is RIM's answer to the iPad. It seems like it's going to fulfill its promise of being competitively priced with Apple's device, which starts at $499.

Despite being the same size as Samsung's Galaxy Tab, whose proportions have recently been criticized by Steve Jobs, RIM plans to lure people over to its device by highlighting its ability to fully support Flash-based video.

The PlayBook is quite well spec'd and if it doesn't give the iPad a run for its money it will certainly offer some competition for Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

Beneath the seven-inch screen is a dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and what is expected to be an option of 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. There are also two cameras; one for web chat which is 3MP, the other for general photography, which is 5MP and both can record HD video.

It all sounds quite promising, the major disadvantage is that it won't be running Android. Instead the PlayBook will feature RIM's own OS built around the QNX microkernel architecture.

The PlayBook tablet is important for RIM as it lost some ground in the smartphone market this year, with its market share falling and its own OS being overtaken by Android.

Despite launching a key handset and a noticeable departure from the usual BlackBerry form factor in the form of the Torch disappointing sales have been reported.

AT&T in the US has recently announced that it will sell the Torch for half price with a two year contract though the carrier claims it is just a promotion for the holiday season.

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