RIM Challenges iPad 2 With PlayBook Starting April 19th
Apple’s share of the tablet market may take another hit next month as Research in Motion readies it’s answer to the iPad 2. On April 19th, the makers of the BlackBerry smartphone will introduce (to both the US and Canada) the long-awaited PlayBook tablet through major retailers like Best Buy, which similarly offers first and second generation iPads.
RIM is currently promoting the PlayBook as the first ever “professional grade” tablet computer. RIM is striking in its promotional material, the company is not looking to best Apple in terms of pricing. In fact, the PlayBook starts at $499 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model. If that sounds familiar, you are right, it’s exactly what Apple is charging for the low-end iPad 2 model. Additionally, the PlayBook’s 32 GB and 64 GB models will retail for $599 and $699, respectively.
According to RIM, the PlayBook boasts a 1GHz dual-core processor, 7″ 1024 x 768 WSVGA capacitive LCD touch screen, and of course, the BlackBerry Tablet OS. Additionally, there are dual cameras (rear and front facing) that can shoot full 1080p footage (an improvement over the iPad 2′s video potential). Incredibly, the PlayBook’s retail push will be bigger than the both generations of the iPad’s with 20,000 stores in the US and Canada ready and willing to sell the PlayBook. In addition to the aforementioned Best Buy, you can find the RIM tablet at Staples, Radio Shack, Office Depot, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, and Verizon Wireless. In comparison, the ipad 2 is presently available in only 10,000 stores.
Evercore Partners Inc. analyst, Alkesh Shah told Bloomberg that RIM may sell 250,000 PlayBooks in its first quarter and more than five million during the full fiscal year. “RIM doesn’t have the cult-like following of Apple so I doubt there will be lines outside the stores,” Shah says. “But feedback has been positive from people who’ve seen it and I think it’ll be a product that starts with slower sales than the iPad 2 but may exceed expectations by year-end.”
Are any of you interested in BlackBerry’s PlayBook? If so, let us know in the comments below!