Research In Motion to Launch 4G PlayBook in Canada on August 9
Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) may not have any major smartphone upgrades planned for 2012, but the firm is determined to continually update its first and only tablet: the PlayBook.
The last update came in the form of a software upgrade released in February 2012. Thursday, Research In Motion announced it was planning to launch a 4G LTE version of the tablet on August 9 in Canada.
Featuring 32GB of memory and the promise of "faster performance over the original BlackBerry PlayBook," the device will initially be available from three Canadian carriers: Bell, Rogers and TELUS.
"We're excited to bring customers the first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with support for 4G LTE networks," David J. Smith, Executive Vice President, Mobile Computing at Research In Motion, said in a statement. "The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook offers a broad range of premium features, including a stunning 7 inch display, front and rear facing HD video cameras, HDMI out and stereo speakers, and it also offers premium performance on high speed cellular networks, helping customers to be more productive than ever and to make the most of their time on the go."
Research In Motion said that it plans to launch the new version of the PlayBook across carriers in the United States, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. However, the device - which is just one week away from release in Canada - does not yet have a price. This could mean that the company is giving carriers the option to charge what they want and subsidize added expenses with lengthy service contracts.
In the United States, AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) and T-Mobile may be the only three companies capable of supporting the new PlayBook nationwide. While Sprint (NYSE: S) could sell the devices, its 4G LTE network is still in its infancy. By the time Sprint has expanded its 4G LTE coverage to a reasonable level, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will likely be ready to release another iPad. Though it will likely be possible to use the new PlayBook in areas where 4G LTE is not supported, connection speeds would be significantly lower.
Research In Motion said that the newly updated PlayBook comes with Research In Motion's OS 2 software and "supports more HTML5 functionality than any other native tablet browser on the market."
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