RIM Announces 4G PlayBook

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RIM announces a 4G BlackBerry PlayBook which will be released in Canada on 9 August, with a UK date yet to be announced

Troubled BlackBerry manufacturer RIM has announced a 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) version of its PlayBook tablet.

The 4G PlayBook will be released first in Canada on 9 August before versions supporting various high speed mobile networks find their way to markets in the US, Europe, Latin America, South Africa and the Carribbean.

The UK still does not have a commercial 4G network, although Ofcom has announced that the perpetually delayed auction of 4G spectrum will begin at the end of this year, with a view to rolling out services in the middle of 2013.

4G BlackBerry PlayBook

In addition to 4G support, the new version of the PlayBook promises to be faster than its predecessor. It will run the latest version of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 software, which includes a number of features which RIM says will make users more productive.

These include a unified inbox that makes it easier to manage personal and work email accounts and social networks as well as built-in calendar and contacts apps. A number  of apps are preloaded onto the device, while others can be downloaded from the BlackBerry App World store.

RIM claims the device is enterprise ready, with BlackBerry Balance technology keeping business information highly secure and separate from personal data.

“We’re excited to bring customers the first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with support for 4G LTE networks,” said David Smith, executive vice president of mobile computing at RIM. “The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook offers a broad range of premium features, including a stunning 7-inch display, front and rear facing HD video cameras, HDMI out and stereo speakers, and it also offers premium performance on high speed cellular networks, helping customers to be more productive than ever and to make the most of their time on the go.”

The first version of the PlayBook suffered from disappointing sales, despite prices being slashed by retailers. BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 was released in April, but some commentators argued that the update was too little too late and that the new features should have been there from launch.

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