RIM unveils its new 4G BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Is this new PlayBook RIM's last hurrah in the tablet competition?

A new 4G BlackBerry PlayBook will go on sale next week, a year after Research In Motion introduced its first tablet. The updated 7-inch PlayBook will include 4G connectivity and 32GB of storage, but RIM has yet to name a price or a U.S. availability date.

The first in line to get their hands on the new PlayBook will be Canadians from August 9, via carriers Bell, Rogers, and Telus. "In the coming months" RIM also expects cellular-data enabled versions of the PlayBook to reach the U.S., Europe, and other countries. But even with the Canadian availability date coming up so quickly, RIM still hasn't said how much the new PlayBook would cost.

If there's no 4G LTE connectivity available in your area or carrier, RIM says the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can automatically adjust to connect on a HSPA+ network.

Otherwise, there's very little changed hardware-wise between the original PlayBook and the 4G model. The tablet still has a 7-inch 1024-pixel by 600-pixel resolution display, dual HD video cameras, HDMI capability, and stereo speakers. The processor is bumped up to 1.5GHz from 1GHz in the Wi-Fi-only model, there's still 1GB of RAM on board, and you only get one storage option: 32GB.

One Last Chance?

The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet could be the make or break device for RIM. Due to key software omissions at launch, such as the lack of a native email client, the PlayBook suffered from lackluster sales. In fact, RIM had to take a $485 million hit last year because it was sitting on a huge inventory of unsold tablets.

The arrival of much cheaper 7-inch tablets from the likes of Amazon did not help either, as they undercut the PlayBook by up to $300 (Amazon's Kindle Fire is $199 while the PlayBook launched at $500, and then began to be heavily discounted).

There's still hope for Research In Motion though. After several delays, the anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will ship with the new tablet. All the features you would expect are now there, including email, calendar, contacts, and video chat. But given the lack of any substantial improvements to the tablet (for example the $200 Google Nexus 7 has a higher-resolution display), adding 4G connectivity to the PlayBook might still be too little, too late for RIM.

Follow Daniel Ionescu and Today @ PCWorld on Twitter

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?