BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Possibly Arriving as Early as February

The PlayBook might arrive in stores sooner than anyone thought.

The highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet could arrive as soon as the end of February 2011. The rough release date comes from Research In Motion’s statements regarding the device. It has said that early 2011 will be when a Wi-Fi only PlayBook model goes on sale and now the company’s VP of Investor Relations has been quoted saying that its fourth fiscal quarter (which ends February 26th) will include expenses related to “development, marketing, and launch preparation activities” of the PlayBook. While that only leaves a few days in February for the PlayBook to hit the shelves and meet the February deadline, stranger things certainly have happened. My guess though is sometime in March to give RIM enough time to get the software bugs worked out of its new QNX operating system and allow its newly acquired TAT (The Astonishing Tribe) division to finish the user interface.

The PlayBook will be shown off again at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this January. While few outside of RIM has been allowed to actually use a demo model, rest assured that the interface is quickly coming along. You might remember the PlayBook simulator for software developers that was released by RIM earlier this year and the barebones UI it came with. Don’t worry, that’s not going to be what the PlayBook or the QNX Tablet OS it runs on will look like at release. TAT is one of the most experienced UI developers for smart phones in the world and QNX racked up a bunch of experience developing operating systems before RIM purchased them early this year.

The PlayBook will first arrive as Wi-Fi only (Bluetooth can also be used to wirelessly tether a PlayBook tablet to a BlackBerry smart phone to access the Internet) but RIM has stated that 3G and 4G compatible models will find their way to the market later in the year. Three different storage capacity configurations have also been announced: 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB. Their prices are rumored at $399, $499 and $599 respectively.

The tablet will also feature hardware accelerated Adobe Flash (the Adobe AIR platform is fully supported as well), a dual-core processor clocking in at 1 GHz and be capable of decoding 1080p HD video for playback.

Excited that the PlayBook release date is quickly approaching? Will the tablet live up to all the hype or fizzle—stuck in an identity crises between being a tablet for consumers and a tablet for business users?

Tell me your thoughts below in the comments.

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