Rumor: BlackBerry PlayBook Will Go on Sale By end of March 2011


The highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has received its first rumored launch date—March 2011. Digitimes is reporting that Research In Motion (RIM)’s Regional Vice-President Gregory Wade has told them that the PlayBook will hit the market by the end of the first quarter of next year. Yep, that means by the end of March 2011.

Wade went on to say that the March release date for the PlayBook is for the U.S. only, but that it will quickly become available in other markets. RIM, a Canadian company that also makes the popular line of BlackBerry smartphones, recently released a demo video of its PlayBook tablet beating out Apple’s iPad tablet quite easily in some basic web browsing tests.

While RIM’s smartphones have been criticized for being underpowed and using two year old technology, the PlayBook uses a brand new, dual-core processor at 1 GHz per core and packs a whopping 1 GB of RAM. The tablet also ditches RIM’s new BlackBerry OS 6 for the QNX Tablet OS that RIM’s recently acquired QNX Software division is still developing. The completely new operating system is expected to start showing up on RIM’s smartphones sometime next year, possibly on the Torch 4 with LTE (long term evolution or 4G) abilities. The company has already announced that it has plans to build a 4G PlayBook in the future.

However, the Samsung Galaxy S is already hitting the market ahead of the PlayBook, along with a slew of other Android OS powered tablets by a variety of manufacturers. The iPad 2 is also rumored to launch near the end of February, which will mean that RIM’s technology advantage from releasing its own tablet a year after Apple’s might end before it begins. The PlayBook features a front facing camera for video calling, which Apple’s current iPad lacks. The iPad 2 is widely expected to at least match the PlayBook in performance and feature a front facing camera for FaceTime connectivity with iPhones, iPod touches and PCs.

RIM is hoping to differentiate its PlayBook tablet by marketing it as a tool for business users and emphasizing its strong Adobe Flash abilities. Hopefully the PlayBook will not be lost in the crowd of tablets that will be out by the middle of next year. Android 3.0 ‘Honeycomb’ will be out by then and is the first version of Android specifically optimized for tablets.

It’s a big market out there for tablets and I hope the PlayBook comes out soon than later. Think the end of March is enough time for RIM to get the bugs worked out?

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