Sprint 4G tablet plans confirmed: PlayBook, HTC EVO Shift 4G or something else?

Sprint has confirmed that a 4G tablet is incoming, with Paget Alves, Sprint's President of Business Markets, telling Forbes that the WiMAX slate is expected to arrive sometime in 2011. Alves declined to confirm the manufacturer responsible for the device, nor indeed the OS that it might run; the carrier currently offers a single (non-4G) model, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but the exec said there are plans to sell slates based on other platforms than Android.

That could mean a full-sized Windows 7 tablet, or it might refer to RIM's upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook. The Canadian company has previously confirmed that it is readying a 4G PlayBook for release sometime in 2011, though is yet to confirm what flavor of 4G – WiMAX, LTE or HSPA+ – it will be using.

A US trademark filing for the HTC EVO Shift 4G back in November, however, could mean that HTC is behind Sprint's new slate. The company delivered the network's first WiMAX smartphone, the HTC EVO 4G, and the use of the "Shift" name seems to refer back to the hybrid HTC Shift dual-OS tablet. Whichever model it is, Sprint seems confident of finding an audience;  70- to 80-percent of the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) that Sprint talks to are interested in deploying tablets to their employees in some fashion, Alves claims.