This time it will support mobiles
RIM said it has finally added a mobile function to its Playbook tablet. The lack of mobile support is widely seen as killing the tablet which was already expensive.
The BlackBerry maker said on Thursday it would launch the new tablets in Canada next week and roll them out in coming months in the United States, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. The PlayBook tablet, introduced more than a year ago, was strategically important for RIM as it is the first product to use the QNX operating system. RIM is adapting the OS for a new generation of BlackBerry phones designed to compete with sexier devices already on the market.
The PlayBook was slammed at ots launch for lacking basic features such as email, and it has failed to wow consumers despite sharp discounts and a major software upgrade. RIM has so far only sold Wi-Fi capable PlayBook devices and this has played a role in making the device less attractive to potential buyers, as users would need access to a Wi-Fi network or to tether the device to the BlackBerry to use the Internet. Apparently the new gear will use the latest 4G LTE networks.
It will have 32 gigabytes of memory and will be available from major Canadian carriers like Bell, Rogers Communications Inc and Telus Corp in Canada on August 9. Variants of the tablet supporting various cellular networks are expected to be available in the coming months from carriers in other countries, RIM said. No word on price yet.