Sprint has apparently canceled their earlier plans to launch a WiMAX-enabled “4G” BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. While that might have a little something to do with their choice to support LTE, Sprint’s president of business markets said that they held back on launching the device because the tablet market was getting crowded, and the case for a business-oriented tablet still wasn’t strong. Still, Sprint maintains that this hasn’t impacted their relationship with RIM; in fact, RIM remains pretty enthusiastic about LTE, as they said in an e-mailed statement.
“RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE. We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the US market together with our carrier partners. Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already underway and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the US and other international markets this fall.”
There’s no mention of HSPA+ in there, so take that as you will. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, the BlackBerry PlayBook is RIM’s first tablet, measuring 7 inches with a 1024 x 600 touchscreen. It’s powered by a buxom dual-core 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM, though the app selection for RIM’s brand new QNX-based operating system is slim. There are two cameras on there, both capable of 1080p video recording, but if you want the full tour, take a look at our review.
RIM is still planning
LTE versions of their PlayBook tablet, at which point they’ll hopefully allow for stand-alone e-mail and other productivity apps without the need to Bridge over Bluetooth to a BlackBerry smartphone. It’s already taken way too long for “4G” PlayBooks to hit the market, so there’s no telling if there’s enough interest left in the device to make a rollout worthwhile. What do you guys think – is it a serious blow to either RIM or Sprint to not offer the WiMAX PlayBook? I’m sure anyone really hankering for cellular connectivity on a tablet will have plenty of high-speed alternatives available.