More and more details about availability and pricing for BlackBerry’s PlayBook are popping up and the latest is from Office Depot where the 7-inch tablet can be yours for $499.99. The release date says “week 17” which puts it around the last week of April.
RIM has pushed out an updated version of the BlackBerry Tablet OS simulator, complete with a fully embedded BlackBerry browser so that would-be PlayBook devs can test out their web-apps, Flash 10.1 and general site performance. In addition to the Adobe support, the PlayBook will also handle HTML5 Video and Audio (though the simulator doesn't have the full range of codecs that the final hardware will).
Those of you fiending for a hit of PlayBook are in luck today. RIM has just posted an official video that shows the new BlackBerry tablet in action. This demo is geared towards enterprise customers/users. It highlights the way the PlayBook syncs up with and pulls data from a BlackBerry.
As odd rumors go, RIM engineering the BlackBerry PlayBook so that it can run Android apps sounds pretty far fetched, but that's today's mystery. According to "multiple trusted sources" speaking to BGR, RIM is considering using the Dalvik Java virtual machine, as used by Android, and potentially opening the door to the PlayBook and other QNX-based devices to run Android code.
Texas Instruments has admitted that NVIDIA beat it to the punch with Tegra 2, managing to scoop up much of the CES 2011 processor hype despite having less than a three month lead to to market over TI's own OMAP 4 chips. Questioned during the company's investor relations call as to how TI envisaged OMAP 4 prospects in the light of NVIDIA's market share, the company conceded its rival is "the player" to beat, but says it has its own customers waiting in the wings.
As of right now, Research In Motion has confirmed that the WiFi-only version of their first tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, will launch some time before the end of the first quarter, 2011. After that, a WiMax-enabled version of the tablet will launch on Sprint's network some time in the summer of this year. However, other carriers have been left out of the picture in the United States so far. That may change by March or April, if an unnamed source is to be believed. According to the source, it turns out RIM is working on releasing a 3G-enabled PlayBook for AT&T.
As far as tablets go, not many of them have been designed to be an out-right extension of a smaller device, like a smartphone. Many manufacturers have brought them to market to stand as their own device, unhindered by the necessity of being tethered to another device to have primary functions. For the BlackBerry PlayBook, the first tablet device from Research In Motion (RIM), one of the major complaints about the device is the requirement that it be connected to a BlackBerry smartphone for some features to function.
RIM is apparently expecting shipments of one million BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in Q1 2011, with the first models being WiFi-only and 3G. According to DigiTimes' industry sources, RIM looks to be positioning Motorola's Android-based XOOM tablet as its primary target; previous leaks suggested Motorola was expecting initial shipments of up to 800,000 XOOM units.
Every CES has its unofficial theme - we've seen netbooks and ereaders flood the booths in previous years - and 2011 was the turn of tablets. As predicted before the show, the rise of the iPad, the imminent release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb and the promise of a new, lucrative segment has worked like catnip to manufacturers large and small. Check out the SlashGear CES 2011 tablet roundup after the cut.