RIM once again has its sights set on a bigger share of the tablet market, yesterday unveiling a 4G-ready model of its BlackBerry PlayBook.
RIM said the new 4G LTE version of its PlayBook delivers a significant jump in performance compared to prior-generation PlayBook models, enabling users to browse the web, send emails, and download multimedia and other content more quickly and from a broader range of locations.
The 4G BlackBerry PlayBook will come with 32GB of storage, and will be rolled out around to the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean over the coming months.
Australian availibility was not announced, and RIM is yet to confirm a price.
It is unlikely the PlayBook's LTE function will operate outside Canada and the USA. Its frequencies are limited to 700MHz and 1700MHz, compared to the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600GHz frequencies used in Australia and Europe.
Earlier versions of RIM’s PlayBook also came in 16GB and 64GB versions, but the 16GB version was officially discontinued in June in light of sluggish demand.
Support for 4G LTE networks could make the PlayBook a more serious competitor to tablets like the iPad or Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, a feat it has struggled to accomplish since its debut in 2010. \
RIM reported in its first-quarter earnings statement in June that it sold approximately 260,000 PlayBooks during the three-month span. This number was slightly more than half the 500,000 PlayBooks it sold during the previous quarter.
Apple, by comparison, said last month it sold 17 million iPads during its fiscal third quarter.
The new 4G tablet sports a 7-inch display, the same screen size as its predecessors, along with front- and rear-facing cameras, HDMI output and stereo speakers.
BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, the next-generation tablet operating system launched by RIM in February, comes natively with the 4G PlayBook.
The new OS was welcomed with open arms by current users, as it armed the PlayBook with a number of new features, most notably built-in email support, that were absent from the first-generation devices.