RIM: 4G PlayBook Coming to Sprint in Summer 2011 [CES 2011]



Research in Motion’s answer to the 3G Apple iPad tablet now has a release date and carrier: this summer and Sprint. At “under $500 a pop, the PlayBook 4G already has potentially “tens of thousands” of corporate customers, according to a RIM senior vice president.

The tablet was demonstrated Wednesday at the Consumer Electronics Show. The device “performed smoothly as it went through its paces,” according to one report. RIM took the time to denounced as “absurd generalizations” talk that Adobe Flash cutting battery lifetime. The retort follows reports RIM may need to delay the PlayBook after an analyst claimed the tablet had only “a few hours” of battery life.

RIM Senior Vice President of enterprise and platform marketing, Jim McDowell told an interviewer the PlayBook’s battery “will last as long or longer than other 7-inch tablets.” The iPad gets 10 hours of battery life and Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab is rated for six hours of battery life.

Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu responded that the PlayBook needs “significant engineering” to match the Galaxy Tab’s battery life. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has blasted the smaller 7-inch tablet category, calling them “dead on arrival” and likely to be abandoned by manufacturers.

RIM wasn’t alone for using the CES showroom to promote an iPad competitor. Motorola displayed its Xoom tablet, the first of the category to be powered by the new Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system. The tablet offers a 10-inch display, among other features. In December, Motorola chided Apple’s iPad as being “like a giant iPhone.”

[Reuters, AppleInsider]