A number of Blackberry Playbook variants are speculated to launch in the next few months. Firstly, a Wi-Fi only version of the Playbook tablet is expected to launch soon after RIM’s financial year ends in February this year. Besides this, 4G LTE and WiMax variants are also learned to be in the pipeline.
Now another source has claimed that Research In Motion is also gearing up to launch a 3G variant around the end of March or in April. According to this source – apparently a Blackberry administrator who is in the know about RIM’s plans – this device could launch well before the 4G LTE variant launches – presumably in April this year.
Do note that we still do not have anything official at this point in time about either the 3G or 4G variants. So, take this with guarded skepticism for the moment.
A 4G supported version of the Blackberry PlayBook – Research In Motion’s much anticipated tablet computer will be available in the United States on the Sprint network from summer of 2011. This has been announced in a recent media statement where Sprint has noted that the availability will be exclusive. However, do bear in mind that this does not mean a non-4G version or a PlayBook with a different launch window is not possible on another carrier.
The 4G-compatible launch also means we could be seeing the launch of a 3G variant earlier than that. Also, it is speculated that an LTE variant could be launching as we move into the latter half of the year. In any case, this tablet with dual core processors and a multitasking operating system should find popularity among Blackberry users.
So it looks like Research In Motion’s Blackberry Playbook may not be actually shipping this year or soon after the new year begins. Statements from RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie and a spokesperson have together offered a good deduction of the possible launch date of the upcoming Blackberry Playbook.
During the fiscal Q3 conference call, Balsillie noted,
“We’re committed to ensuring the BlackBerry PlayBook is enterprise-ready for launch. […]The PlayBook is expected to begin shipping in the United States in the first quarter of 2011”
In addition to this, a RIM spokesperson had said,
“There are no PlayBook revenues included in our Q4 guidance, and we expect the first revenue impact from PlayBook will be in RIM’s first quarter”
RIM’s fiscal calendar for this year closes on February 26, 2011. That leaves March as the only month in the first quarter of next year when the PlayBook could be available. Incidentally, the Apple iPad is rumored to become available exactly a month later in April. Given that Apple traditionally announces new products a fortnight or so ahead of launch, it is quite likely for Steve Jobs to be making his iPad 2 presentation very much during PlayBook’s initial days.
We wonder if this is going to play a huge factor in the success of the device then!
Research in Motion is undeniably late to the tablet game. But that doesn’t mean that the company does not have enough armor to fight its rivals. One critical advantage seems to be its incredibly easy app development procedure. The Blackberry Tablet OS SDK supports a number of technologies like Adobe AIR, Flash and HTML that developers who already have applications in these technologies can easily port them over to the new platform.
RIM has also released a PlayBook simulator for Windows, Mac and Linux which means developers on all these platforms can build and test applications that they may submit to the Blackberry App World for inclusion. And that comes with a reward. RIM has announced that developers who get their apps for Blackberry Tablet OS submitted and approved to the App World before the launch of the tablet in North America will win a free PlayBook.
You can check out the complete terms and conditions for the offer on the Blackberry website here.
We have heard rumors about the price of Blackberry PlayBook more than once in the past. Back in September this year, John Jackson; an analyst at CCS Insight made an observation that the starting price of this RIM tablet could be between $300 and $350. This speculation gathered more steam when RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie noted in an interview earlier this month that the tablet shall be priced under $500.
Now here are more rumors. According to some insiders, the Blackberry PlayBook shall be priced at $399, $499 and $599 for the three iterative variants of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB respectively. There is some clarification needed here though. There has been word previously that the tablet shall come in three variants between 16GB and 64GB storage. So, it is likely that the starting model is 16GB and not 8GB as mentioned here.
Anyway, all of this is a rumor and unless Research In Motion does not come forward with its official announcement, we will have to take this with the clichéd pinch of salt.
After years of being known as the business phone guys, Research In Motion has been desperately trying to get mainstream. The launch of PlayBook, the recently unveiled tablet computer, is in this very direction and the company has tried to marry business with entertainment with this new launch.
Now folks at Universal Mind have given us a sneak into what the new Blackberry SDK can offer. The company has released a video demo of their upcoming Fantasy Football app for Blackberry Playbook that, from the preview, looks pretty neat. According to a post on the company’s blog, the new Blackberry SDK is integrated with Adobe Flash Builder which makes it easy for a developer of Flash based games to easily make a Playbook-compatible version of their applications.
“It was entirely built using Adobe Flash Builder and the BlackBerry SDK. The workflow allowed us to deploy a working tablet application in days with full touch and gesture interactions that you would expect in a tablet device.
The framework SDK is integrated into Flash Builder which made for a very familiar dev environment. Compiling the application and deploying it to the PlayBook Simulator is quick and easy with multiple ways to see your application in a working environment. Without a actual device in hand we relied on the Simulator to test all the interactions, so it was a key piece of the workflow.”
If not for anything else, the video demo is a wonderful advertisement for the capabilities of the Blackberry SDK that should really get a lot of developers interested in this platform. Check out the demo embedded below.
So here we are with one more comparison video pitting one new gadget on the block against the hyped Apple device in the market. This video has been produced by the folks at Research In Motion and so the disclaimers about the obvious bias towards the Playbook has to be factored in.
But putting aside all of that, the comparison video below is a good indicator of how good the Playbook that runs on a 1GHz dual core processor fares against the iPad that runs on a single core processor. Not just that, the Apple iPad naturally doesn’t come with Adobe Flash and that is obviously a downside. But what’s interesting is that even alternate open standards like HTML5 seem to perform better on the Playbook when compared to the iPad.
Check the video below and draw your own conclusions.
Research In Motion’s Blackberry PlayBook is the next big launch in the tablet space and could definitely be a hot commodity at least among users who already flaunt a Blackberry. At the Web 2.0 summit yesterday, RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie noted about a new module cavity in the device that could be used to pack additional features for WWAN and NFC in the near future. In fact, Balsillie went so far to suggest that “we’d be fools not to have it in the near-term, and we are not fools. ”
So while the anticipation stays high for this upcoming tablet computer, folks at Engadget have managed to get hold of a nice and short video demonstration of the PlayBook in action. The tablet comes across as pretty responsive and seamless which is a great platform to watch videos or surf the web. Check out the video below and let us know what you think.
Research In Motion’s venture into the tablet segment must happen sometime in early 2011. While we have all the details with respect to the features (click here to check out all our earlier PlayBook articles), one thing that is not known as yet is the price. In September, analyst John Jackson from CCS Insight speculated the price of PlayBook to be in the range of $300-$350. While it was merely his own speculation, the general consensus was that RIM might play aggressive and could be offering the device at a low cost.
That is confirmed now. In an interview to a Korean newspaper, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie has assured that the device will be available in the US market at a price of below $500. Now that may be too broad a price range. But at least, we now know that the PlayBook might not launch at exorbitant prices a la Galaxy Tab.
Mike Lazaridis, the co-CEO of Research in Motion announced on stage during the AdobeMAX developer conference that developers who build apps for the AppWorld platform now get “eligible” to win a free Blackberry PlayBook – yes, the tablet device that is releasing shortly. Now, this was an one off comment and we are still unsure if this means every developer who builds an app over the next few days stands to win a PlayBook or if this is for a selected few from this list. Sure, there is no information about this on the AppWorld developer website.
Either way, this is the best time for app developers to jump into the AppWorld platform. The registration and submission fee for getting accepted are waived at this point in time and those of you who manage to get in now at least save on the $200 entry fee with which you can buy a PlayBook for yourself.