RIM launches new 4G PlayBook

No more Wi-Fi only PlayBook...
Darren Allan

August 3, 2012
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RIM’s PlayBook tablet has been far from a success since its launch, but the company has a new model it hopes will pep up the slate’s fortunes.

The original PlayBook came under much fire from critics for failing to ship with a built-in email client, and indeed, while the device was launched in April 2011 (in the US, anyway), the mail client didn’t arrive until early this year.

The slate also lacked anything but a Wi-Fi connection, and remedying that is the main thrust of the new device, with RIM adding LTE support.

The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook, to give the slate its full name, is being pushed out in Canada now, and is promised to be arriving in Europe soon.

Of course, we don’t have 4G in the UK, and won’t until later on next year (unless Everything Everywhere manages to twist Ofcom’s arm to allow its deployment of existing 1800MHz spectrum).

Fortunately, the tablet can also take advantage of the faster HSPA+ connections which networks have been rolling out lately – 3.5G, as they’re informally known, and these are still pretty nippy affairs.

RIM is also promising faster performance levels from its refreshed slate, which comes loaded with PlayBook OS 2, and 32GB of storage.

David J. Smith, Executive Vice President of Mobile Computing at RIM, commented: “The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook offers a broad range of premium features, including a stunning 7 inch display, front and rear facing HD video cameras, HDMI out and stereo speakers, and it also offers premium performance on high speed cellular networks, helping customers to be more productive than ever and to make the most of their time on the go.”

We’re not pinning too much hope on the device becoming a best-seller, as the 7 inch slate market is tougher now since Google’s entry with the Nexus 7. Although the PlayBook clearly has a business emphasis compared to the big G’s consumer focused offering.

RIM’s fate doesn’t particularly rest in the tablet world, anyway. It’s really BlackBerry 10 and its smartphones which are set to make or break the company next year.


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