A bit of bad news for RIM as Sprint has reportedly cancelled the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook. The BlackBerry tablet was set to hit Sprint’s WiMAX network this fall, but Sprint pulled the plug because the PlayBook wasn’t selling as well as the carrier hoped.
Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint’s business markets group president, Paget Alves, claimed, “It’s an interesting concept [the PlayBook], it just hasn’t caught on with business customers as much as they would like.”
For its part, RIM has not yet abandoned a 4G PlayBook. In an email sent to reporters, a BlackBerry rep wrote:
RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE. We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the US market together with our carrier partners. Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already underway and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the US and other international markets this fall.
Both Verizon and AT&T have LTE-based 4G networks.
The Sprint 4G PlayBook was first announced at CES in January along with plans for a summer launch, which was later pushed back to the fall. Rumors indicate that RIM has pulled resources away from the PlayBook tablet to concentrate on the smartphone business, where RIM is steadily losing ground to Android and iOS devices. A ten-inch PlayBook was reportedly scrapped earlier this summer.
The PlayBook 4G cancellation news could also cause concern to PlayBook owners who are eagerly awaiting the native email client promised by RIM, along with Android app support. Both were set to launch this summer, but at least the Android app support has been pushed back until the fall, according to rumors.