BlackBerry PlayBook Price and Release Date Get Official: $499, April 19

After much speculation regarding when exactly we’ll see the BlackBerry PlayBook, RIM has announced specific launch details for their first tablet. Prices for the Wi-Fi-only model start at $499 for the 16 GB version, $599 for 32 GB, and $699 for 64 GB – more or less in line with what we were expecting. The April 19 launch date at Best Buy and Future Shop, however, is much later than the late March timeframe RIM had been forecasting. Preorders start today for both Canadian and U.S. locations, in any case.

For that money, the BlackBerry PlayBook offers a 7-inch 1024 x 600 touchscreen, a 3 megapixel camera on the front, 5 megapixel camera on the back (both capable of shooting HD video), a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a brand new QNX Neutrino-based operating system that can handle multitasking and multimedia with the utmost stability. Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G through Bluetooth tethering are also included. We’ve got a hands-on video over here if you want to take a look.

RIM has been teasing the PlayBook for the last six months, leaving anyone remotely interested in getting one either impatient or fed up. We’ll have to wait another couple of months for a PlayBook with cellular connectivity, and presumably access to standalone e-mail, calendar, and contacts apps without using Bridge on a BlackBerry smartphone. With rumours of an April 10 launch still lingering, maybe carriers will be offering the PlayBook sooner, but it seems to me like getting this thing before the end of March is a lost cause.

The price points meet the Wi-Fi iPad 2 head-on, but that can be dangerous – will average consumers be willing to pay just as much for a smaller screen and dramatically fewer apps? If you are, you can preorder the BlackBerry PlayBook at Best Buy here.

[via RIM]

  • Anonymous

    OMG! If you have Gmail you can access email and Calendar on this… why say otherwise???

  • Anonymous

    HaHa I knew you guys would be shitting on this the day it is released and Simon you have proved me right.

    you wrote “but that can be dangerous – will average consumers be willing to pay just as much for a smaller screen and dramatically fewer apps?”

    When you could have written ” will the average consumer be willing to pay for full web including flash-based sites and a vastly more portable tablet?”

    But no, you went for the negative. Thanks.

    PS as for email access see my comment below.

    • A) The 7 inch size is a double-edged sword, and at best it breaks even when compared to larger devices. Personally, I think if you’re looking for portability, it’s best to save your money for a nice smartphone. Folks are going with the iPad because it’s a dramatically larger screen (not just a tiny bit bigger than the iPhone), and it will be the first thing shoppers compare the PlayBook to when figuring out whether or not they’re going to drop 500 clams on a tablet.

      B) Access to PIM, or any other site through the browser is no substitute for a native app.

  • This is the first time I’ve been to this site. I like the PlayBook, as I do most hardware coming out right now. To see you spinning negative on the PlayBook is simply poor journalism. So, as seems to be the case with most people, I’ll be leaving your site now.

    • I consider it poor journalism to not be discriminating and critical of the things that are happening around us, but I guess we’ve got different definitions.

  • Matt Marois

    why get this over the ipad? its the same price! i don’t get it, its not worth that stupid price and neither is the ipad! will not be getting one ever unless they can choose to be reasonable and lower there price below 200 300 at most

  • Mohammed Mansura

    wow i will buy it even ii is 1000 i will buy,it is very nice woww

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