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CTIA 2011: RIM Launches The BlackBerry PlayBook, Starting Price $499
March 22, 2011 04:55 AM

This morning RIM announced that pricing for the WiFi-only BlackBerry PlayBook tablet would start at $499 in the United States and Canada. Customers can begin placing pre-orders today through Best Buy today. AT&T, Cellular South, Cincinnati Bell, Office Depot, RadioShack, Staples, Sprint, Verizon and other retailers will also carry the tablet soon. According to this morning’s press release, the 16 GB model goes for just $499, 32 GB for $599, and 64 GB for $699.

“Previews of the BlackBerry PlayBook have generated tremendous excitement and we know that customers are eager to get their hands on one,” said Craig¬†McLennan, Regional Managing Director, North America, Research In Motion. “We share that excitement and we are very pleased to announce that customers can begin placing their orders with Best Buy today.”

We first had a chance to try an early version of the tablet at CES 2011 this year. It is essentially a business-oriented tablet with multimedia capabilities, which RIM has generally struggled with. The HTML 5 browser supports Adobe Flash, the BlackBerry Tablet OS handles multitasking, the hardware can playback HD video, and much more.

BlackBerry PlayBook Specs:

  • Display: 7 inch 1024 x 600 WSVGA capacitive LCD touch screen
  • Dimensions / Weight: 5.1 x 7.6 x 0.4 inches / 0.9 lbs
  • Processor: 1 GHz dual-core
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • OS: BlackBerry Tablet OS
  • Audio Codecs: AAC, MP3, WMA
  • Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG4, WMV
  • Output: 1080p HDMI support
  • Front Camera: 3 megapixels for video chat
  • Rear Camera: 5 megapixel for 1080p capture
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass
  • Networks: GPS, WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth v2.1

If you are looking for an in-depth comparison lineup along the latest generation of tablets, check out our infographic that throws the PlayBook into the ring with the Dell Streak 7 and Motorola Xoom.

Other Thoughts

I am definitely looking forward to getting my hands on this device. At a price point that matches the brand new Apple iPad 2 on every capacity level, it will definitely drawn customers interest. Other tablets such as the Motorola Xoom start at a higher $599 price point for a 32 GB model with no affordable entry-level option. We will definitely be getting a review unit very soon, so stay tuned for a full in-depth review. To be the first to get updates, check out some subscription options here.

Links: Best Buy PlayBook Pre-Order

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