AT&T Approves PlayBook Bridge App; $20 If You Want To Tether

AT&T has finally approved the BlackBerry Bridge app which will allow PlayBook owners to wirelessly connect their tablet to their BlackBerry smartphone. The carrier "has thoroughly reviewed the application" an AT&T representative told AllThingsD, "and at noon today it will be made available via BlackBerry App World."

Would-be PlayBook buyers with AT&T devices were disappointed to find that the carrier had differentiated itself from its US rivals by not offering Bridge support at the PlayBook's launch. Without it – or a quickly cooked-up hack – the PlayBook could not access email, calendar and other information on a BlackBerry phone; since the tablet currently lacks a standalone email app, that means key functionality has been absent for a number of months.

Now, AT&T has confirmed that users will be able to access their phone's content free of charge from the PlayBook, though a $20 per month tethering plan will be required if they also want to use the handset's wireless connection to go online on the slate. "Our customers' wireless experience is always our number one priority" the carrier insists, arguing that RIM gave it insufficient time to test the Bridge app when it initially launched back in mid-April.

RIM claims to have shipped around 500,000 PlayBook tablets since its commercial release. For full details on the QNX slate, check out the SlashGear review.