Mobile Word Congress in Barcelona is heating up, as Research In Motion announced two new 4G connection options for its anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. In addition to an already revealed WiMax option, RIM has revealed that it will also offer LTE and HSPA+ versions of the tablet. This announcement strongly suggests that the PlayBook 4G will be available on all major US carriers’ networks.
While there will be a Wi-Fi-only option, consumers looking for 4G connectivity will have a range of choices. The previously announced WiMax version will allow 4G over Sprint’s network, and will be the first 4G PlayBook shipped, with a release planned for this summer.
The two newly announced HSPA+ and LTE options might not be seen until a bit later this year (with RIM offering the broad spectrum of “second half of 2011” as the planned release period), but they open the door to the other 4G service providers.
The LTE version will possibly allow 4G connection on Verizon’s network, while HSPA+ means that T-Mobile and AT&T should also be able to support the PlayBook.
RIM is marketing the wide range of 4G possibilities as another example of the PlayBook’s enterprise readiness, with Mike Lazaridis, President of RIM, claiming that the glut of 4G options will create “enhanced business opportunities for carriers and developers and unparalleled mobile experiences for users.”
The PlayBook Plays with All
Compatibility seems to be a top-priority for the PlayBook in areas other than just 4G options. It was recently announced that RIM has been developing software to make the PlayBook compatible with Android OS applications.
Price and Availability
According to leaks, the Wi-Fi-only variation of the PlayBook will be available by early April with a $500 price tag. No details are currently available for the cost of the 4G options, or the pricing of the compulsory data plans.