Other than Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Tab, Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry Playbook seems like it will be the first real competition to the iPad’s dominance over the tablet market when it is released in early 2011.
Featuring a 7-inch display, a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and both front and back-facing cameras, as well as an entirely new operating system based on Adobe Air, the BlackBerry Playbook certainly has the specs to make a splash… but a lot will depend on whether or not the price is competitive with the iPad.
According to RIM CEO Jim Balsillie, the BlackBerry PlayBook will at least match the entry-level iPad’s price when it drops. In an interview with Business Week, Balsillie said:
“The product will be very competitively priced,” and when asked whether it will be about $500, Balsillie said “no, it will be under that.”
Good news so far, but my guess is that he’s referring to a subsidized price. The Samsung Galaxy Tab has roughly the same specs as the PlayBook and it doesn’t cost under $500 without a subsidy. Given that RIM exclusively makes phones and 3G-connected devices, I’d speculate that the PlayBook will end up being cheaper than an iPad… but only as long as you’re willing to sign a two-year contract for the “savings.”