07:09 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Sprint Surprises With WiMax-Equipped RIM PlayBook

Sprint announced that it will sell a version of RIM's PlayBook tablet that is enabled with 4G WiMax.

Sprint is the first carrier to announce that it will sell the Research In Motion PlayBook. What's more, Sprint and RIM are adding an unexpected surprise to the PlayBook -- WiMax. It won't ship until summer 2011, but it's the right move for RIM to add support for Sprint's 4G network to its tablet device.

According to Sprint, its variant of the PlayBook will boast: the new BlackBerry Tablet OS; 1 GHz dual-core processor; 1 GB of RAM; Wi-Fi; Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR; and HTML5.

"We are excited to bring this powerful new product to our business customers and consumers who rely on Sprint for industry-leading devices as well as one of the best values in wireless," said Steve Elfman, president of network operations and wholesale for Sprint in a prepared statement.

"This tablet is a great example of Sprint’s strong partnership with RIM in continuing to bring customers powerful devices to enhance their mobility. We are confident the BlackBerry 4G Playbook from Sprint will be one of the most anticipated tablets in 2011."

It would have been near suicidal for RIM to release the PlayBook without 4G. Already at CES, Samsung has announced an LTE-equipped version of its Galaxy Tab, LG announced an HSPA+ Android Slate, and Motorola announced the LTE-equipped Xoom tablet.

The PlayBook will need every advantage it can get to combat these three devices and whatever Apple cooks up for the second generation iPad.

Pricing for the PlayBook wasn't disclosed. None of the other carriers have said when (or if) they will offer RIM's PlayBook.

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