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BlackBerry PlayBook 4G appears again as it nears official release

BlackBerry PlayBook 4G
By Bla1ze on 4 Jul 2012 07:12 pm EDT
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Although the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G has been spotted on several occasions now, the previous sightings of it never had the device looking as though it was complete and ready for launch. The most recent info, coming directly from RIM CEO Thorsten Heins tells us we'll soon see the BlackBerry PlayBook 4G for sale in the very near future. However, if that wasn't confirmation enough for you, both N4BB and BB FR have some initial hands - on impressions posted up from their time spent with the device.

Overall, the impressions are as you would expect. A BlackBerry PlayBook with 4G instead of being only WiFi but N4BB also reports the device is currently running on OS 2.0.1.354 and certainly feels a little bit faster compared to the current generation BlackBerry PlayBook. In addition to that, it's also noted there is no built-in BlackBerry Messenger present at this time so in order to make use of it you still have to bridge your BlackBerry.

At this point though, I only have one question about the device and that's "How much is it gonna cost?". We all know pricing is a huge factor in the tablet market and if RIM thinks they're going to move the PlayBook 4G at the cost of what they initially had the BlackBerry PlayBook priced at, they're wrong. It's just not going to happen these days.

Source: N4BB, BlackBerry-FR

Reader comments

BlackBerry PlayBook 4G appears again as it nears official release

93 Comments

Too little, too late if you ask me. I was waiting on this for the NFC capabilities tied with 4G connectivity, since it would be perfect for my startup's prototype. I've since moved onto the Nexus 7.

I'll still develop for BB10, and I still await this device since it has 4G where the Nexus 7 doesn't. But this should've been out 6 months ago.

Founder of Pulsecode Engineering and taab

Desktop Bridge for the BlackBerry Playbook
twitter: #DesktopBridge

How is it too late? How many tablets out now have 4G? Does the Nexus 7 have 4G? Does it have NfC? It has not been out for too long. People need to stop complaining. Technological advancements take time.

Yes nexus 7 has NFC plus it has some pretty nice uses for it it has a front facing camera that you can use to also I'm sure you can overclock it it syncs great with google cloud so 16 gigs is enough space you can keep your music and pics there also don't forget google play that was just plain smart of google the first play book and play book 4g and the next PlayBook after that won't catch up to the nexes 7 anytime soon and the sad part is no store will let me trade. My PlayBook in I cantt find one place to unload this brick smh

Another media device. This one from Google. The trend seems to be in the production of one way consumption devices. I am waiting for the cloud charges to start to appear anytime.

This device has been in testing for well over a year now. I saw it at Orlando Jam. I've been wanting it for almost 6 months now because of the NFC capabilities. Now that the Nexus 7 has beat RIM to market with that feature, I had no choice but to buy the Nexus 7.

But the Nexus 7 doesn't have 4G, which is why the PlayBook is still on my radar.

I agree with your point about technological advancements taking time. The PlayBook 4G isn't an example of that. It's just an example of RIM's continued difficulties with internal communications and politics.

Founder of Pulsecode Engineering and taab

Desktop Bridge for the BlackBerry Playbook
twitter: #DesktopBridge

not in my opinion... i will be trading in my 64gb Wifi Playbook for a shiny new Playbook 4G when it hits shelves

I think RIM should really try another strong push of the Playbook - relaunch with marketing, dare I even say Christmas marketing. Give the Playbook some better mass!

That makes no sense. Too little too late? But your still going to purchase one? I guess eventually we all need to complain.

Hey, when will we see Desktop Bridge???

Desktop Bridge was released and then removed from App World by RIM. Search for it on Google, you'll see my blog post describing what happened.

Founder of Pulsecode Engineering and taab

Desktop Bridge for the BlackBerry Playbook
twitter: #DesktopBridge

I am sitting here thinking that too.
This is a 4G AND wifi PB. Who said you will have to use a sim everytime?
It has little extras like a NFC and a snappier processor and probably more memory. If you were looking to buy a PB the upgraded one is the one to have. I daresay the wo ksmanship is much better too.
Personally I was hoping RIM would forego the dull rubberised back.

This probably would have been released 6 months ago if there was enough demand for it.People dont realize how trivial playbook sales are to RIMs overall business.

If there are no hardware upgrades and no flash on the camera I really don't care. I may have been more interested if it actually came out with the original playbook last year but it didn't so I ended up getting a mobile hotspot which is cheaper than 4G through most carriers anyway.

RIM should just start working on the PB2 and make 4G connectivity available with the next generation

It looks like there is not going to be any upgrade to the guts. Same RAM, same camera. Just the addition of 4G.

Though I'll probably get one if it's priced at $50 more than the non-4G versions.

The BB10 Alpha device got a 1.5ghz processor upgrade. I can only assume the new Playbook 4G will have at least the same.

you assumed correct: 1.5ghz dual core processor as opposed to the dual core 1ghz dual core. also an incrementally refined UI and NFC as well as 4G access (obviously). i like having the option to swap another sim on my account if i really need to 4G the Playbook but i can tether with my 9900 as well. bring on the improvements, all are accepted here

Why does it take so long for RIM to put a SIM slot in a device, Google went from development to release with their device in 4 months. Other than ironing out business deals, a device like this shouldn't be hard to make, the recipe is already there for anyone to follow, just build on what your competition has.

I have a Playbook and I wish I could easily sell it for the Nexus. In terms of features, the Playbook doesn't get to use all of them thanks to the lame AppWorld apps and poor developer support. They have even yet to release a integrated app for the front facing camera, it just feels like a waste on my Playbook.

really? they built a wifi only device with no radio stack and (to a point) pre-existing software in 4 months. thats not a huge thing.
where i imagine the time has gone (apart from BB10 taking precedence) is in having to make a new cellular stack for QNX which has never had one before. yes theres no cell stack on the nexus. then there will ave been alot of QA on the cell stack with carriers id imagine.
all google had to do was take an existing OS, add some bits and throw it onto some hardware, much less of a task in all reality.

anyways, if you want to sell your playbook for a 7" tab with a 1.2mp front camera only, and a max storage of 16Gb, then go for it, but its hardly a step up in the world when you could get a 64Gb 4G tab with rear and front cameras shortly.

What you say is not so impressive. ICS has been out a while and has had plenty if development for radio stacks. Building hardware that runs on ics is the easy thing to do, actually. Look at all the bb's availabke. Curve torch bold.. And different models of each to. Its easy to reproduce hardware when you already have the software. Hardware is easy.

Google did not develop Nexus 7 from scratch. It was already an Asus prototype 4 months ago when Google takes over. Check your fact before posting.

Asus had Asus MeMO 370T in development since last year, Google took over the project and the result is in 4 months they made some refinements and have added a NFC and called the tablet Nexus 7. Moreover it is just a Wifi tablet

Would be nice for those of us with Playbook now, to be able to utilize the desktop bridge application to surf the web. Shouldn't have to pay for tethering!!!

I don't pay any extra to share my BB 9930's data with my Playbook ie "tether" (and no I am not on a Share Everything plan yet), you must be on AT&T I am guessing?

My point is this is a carrier thing not a RIM thing.

It's not as simple as sticking just a sim card into the playbook. RIM likely had to work on optimizing battery and standby time with the radio being on all the time (verus the playbook being wifi only). You can't compare this to Google putting together a Nexus 7. The other issue is that RIM's likely not putting in a lot of resources into PlayBook 4G given that it knows it's got a small market appeal (most people would just bridge) and they need all hands on deck for BB10.

Really hoping its 4G LTE because I don't think carriers would push this over an LTE tablet especially since its a RIM product. But who knows, I could be wrong.

Most likeyly it will be. The original 4G one planned for last year was intended to be one Wimax model (now a dead tech) and one HSPA+ (ie the "fake 4G"); and there just wasn't enough interest with carriers. I'm expecting there to be two versions one that is 4G LTE and HSPA+ and one that supports Verizon 4G LTE.

The odds are that there will be LTE models for VZW and AT&T in NA, but in the rest of the world it will be a HSPA+ model since there would be little to no benefit including an LTE radio that wouldn't be used and it would increase costs.

I need one of these. Im on the road a lot and would love to have full internet access, bridge is ok but cant do everything with it.

Why release another Playbook? RIM lost so much money on the first one. How many people have been waiting to buy a data plan for their Playbook? Also, there is a lot more competition for 7 inch tablets than there was when the original came out. This is emblematic of RIM's inability to allocate resources effectively.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Releasing 4G Playbook achieves nothing but wasting precious resources. Who the bleep makes these decisions to allocate RIM's resources? As a BB faithful, I'm annoyed at RIM. As a shareholder, I'm plain pissed off.

Just a thought but isn't it possible that the appeal concerning a 4g version may have to do with some of the companies that are directly requesting it? I mean you are right. Most people who wanted a playbook probably has one of their own. The only thing I can think of that would drive them to do it would be some companies wanting it

Get over it. The fact that its a minor refresh and is coming out 6 months after it was initially planned to shows there isnt a lot of resources being allocated to playbook. It should be obvious from how infrequently the pb os is being updated that there are not a lot of people working on pb software.

The 4G playbook will likely be Playbook 2.0 (same basic design with increased internals and the added radios).

Carriers actually make more money on tablets because they don't subsidize them to the degree that they do phones (if at all) and for all the talk about consumers ultimately the carrier is RIM's real customer.

3/4G Tablets account for less than 10% of all tablet sales. PlayBook 4G spec improvements are marginal.
Why are RIM doing this?

Because it is a product that is almost ready to go (most of the development having been done last year) and they need revenue stream to get them through the next two quarters, since BB7 sales are dried up thanks to blogs like this hyping the BB 10 platform so much. Last year they propagated the unrealistic expectation that the new phones would be coming soon (as early as this spring) instead of facing the reality (which I have been saying for a year) that BB 10 would not launch so soon.

The irony is that if people had bought the BB7 phones when they came out by the time BB 10 is finally available they will be within a few months of their upgrades but instead most of the people on this site are holding out on older inferior hardware and software grumbling about the BB 10 delays when they could be enjoying the newer and vastly superior (performance wise, at least) BB 7 devices while they waited, like i am.

I thought I read previous reports that this bad boy would be rocking native BBM? Wondering why it's so hard to bring BBM to PlayBook.

Like Bla1ze I am interested to see how it's priced.

We've been waiting for RIM to introduce that feature for a year and a half. There's lots of people who use a PlayBook and not a handset. They could benefit from it real soon.

What in the hell are you talking about. The Beta version came out less that 6 weeks ago. Give your head a shake dude.

Shaking, I understood that was for developers and not for commercial use yet. When is the public going to have access?

When its done. Seriously how long do you think these things should take? Are you even a developer? Do you know how much work is involved??

My guess is the appeal will be for corporate users, law and security agencies & potentially banks/insurance companies. Odds are it will not be targeted at the general consumer. I think it's important to remember the playbook is still the only tablet that has met the U.S., Australia and Canada's top security requirements. It will be a niche product.

This would have been great with BBM on board for those of us dabbling with other platforms while awaiting bb10. It would also be a great if this had the latest QNX 2.1 Skype or dare I say Netflix..which would revamp some desperately needed life in all of our playbricks.

Unfortunately in India we still don't have 4G. Will it work over a 3G sim card? Sorry for the dumb question.
But I guess will buy it anyway and pass on my current PB to wifey.

Given that the amount of people, by proportion, who want a 4G tablet, i.e,. who are willing to pay for an extra data plan, is smaller than the proportion of people who solely want a WiFi device, I am surprised that RIM is still planning to release the 4G tablet.

There have been reports and analysis that suggests the biggest obstacle facing the adoption of 4G tablets is the unwillingness of consumers to purchase an extra/additional data plan. Even the iPad 4G sells significantly less numbers than its WiFi version. Likewise, the sales of Sony's 3G version of the Vita has paled in comparison to the number of WiFi units sold - and gamers normally are the first people to adopt new technology and don't mind paying for it.

I guess it seems that this is such a small subset of the population who would be willing to pay for a 4G tablet and pay for a data plan that I am not sure that it is worthwhile for RIM to go after.

With shared data plans being as good as they are, why would the convenience of H+ not be a selling point?

I'll be getting one for sure and I don't need to buy a plan, it'll go straight on my shared data.

I've taken the time to set my PB up on as many free wifi hubs as I find but it's still nice to surf anywhere with no limitations. Having H+ would only serve to make it even easier.

I just meant that if we're talking about numbers, and if the analysts are correct that people are avoiding the 4G version due to the associated monthly costs of a data plan or paying extra for tethering, then it might be a very a small group of people that would be interested in this.

As to you last comment, I agree with you. I just got the 4G iPad which I can share my current 6 gig data plan with and have really appreciated being able to access the net from anywhere with no limitations.

Depending on the costs associated with the 4G Playbook, I would be tempted to trade in/upgrade my existing unit to get the new 4G one as well. The only thing that is holding me back right now is trying to get a straight answer from Rogers, my cell provider, as to whether or not my plan will allow me to share data between three devices, i.e., my phone, Ipad, and Playbook.

This development seems to confirm my suspicion that RIM is having a hard time enabling their treasured BBM function natively in their BBX/BB10 OS for whatever reason. For RIM's sake I hope they can get this to work soon. This might also account for the delay in putting out the BB10 device ..i.e can't imagine RIM trying to put out a BB10 device without a bug free BBM function .

If it's got NFC & has a better CPU...i am buying...although i won't buy it for it's sim card capabilities....surfing with current playbook is fast when connected to 9900's mobile hotspot.

Looks like they are putting out this version for testing and will go out on a limb and say it is when 2.1 is released and continue the testing. This will be like a first bb10 phone testing stacks and eliminating any kinks that might exist before the launch of the first official phone.

A limited production 4G playbook is smart on Rim's part separating it from the phone but still get the OS up to "standards" (I like the incremental and makes me feel like getting a new toy but many might not agree).

Timeline: 4G pb (2.1) - BB10 phones - 4G 10" pb (bb10.???- for a 2nd chance of a relaunch)

If this is the near term plan (with 3 more year of planning already in place). I am a happy camper knowing I can still buy new bb toys in the future.

Excuse me RIM, but I just got my Playbook 64gb and only been enjoying it for 6 months. Now they are releasing a new one. WTH..

Because the PB is currently logged onto a WiFi network so that is the indicator it shows. When the WiFi drops or is turned off the WiFi icon will swap to the 4G signal indicator, and the WiFi switch will be located under the 4G signal indicator.

This makes perfect sense. Why show both on the status bar when you can only be actively using one at a time?

Meet the new management, the same as the old - except for providing additional business for Canadian warehouses and landfill sites, this is a waste of time, money and focus.

Unless this has killa specs, cheap and good popular apps people love its going to sell like the playbook 1

Someone mentioned further back that Rim need to start marketing better and in the UK where Rim are meant to be strong this is also the case. i have a 16gb Playbook and am very happy. I was in PC World about 3 months after OS2 launch and the playbook on display was still running OS1. When I queried this with a member of the sales staff I was told that Rim control that particlaur display stand and it was up to them to update the software. I thought at the time this was bad and no wonder it is not selling well especially when it is sitting next to all the other tablet on the market. Two days ago I was in a branch of the Car Phone Warehouse and the same looking stand with a playbook running OS1. What is Rim doing, how are they going to push this if they can't even advertise it ? I love my playbook and my Torch 9800 but seriously Rim get a grip

So no BBM on the trial version that's not surprising as it's running OS 2.01. As for a data plan all I can say is that not everyone lives in North America.

I will be buying one of these as soon as I can and giving my 16gb to my son.

"Very soon" that's fantastic. I can't wait to see these. I feel I don't need or want one but......maybe !

Once the hardware is upgraded I'll be purchasing it. It would have been a nice idea if BBM was given to the device. That would have given a real great advantage over the other tablets communication wise. Maybe with BB10 I hope.

A 3G/4G version will sell much better than the wifi edition in certain markets, I suspect the african markets especially. This also gives rim a change to test out the QNX radio stack before the launch of BB10.

Sorry but this ship has sailed...My kids got me the playbook keyboard to go with my playbook 16GB for Father's day and I don't even use this thing. It is sitting collecting dust until one of the kids ask to use it.
Now I'm looking at selling both.
RIM is done, always focusing on the wrong product, focus should be on BB10 which will never see the light of day.
Kevin I know this is your bread and butter and you have to remain positive but the end is near...hope they have room for you over at Android Central.

Exactly! It seems so foolish. The Playbook barely sold so why are they putting out another one??? No one cares that it has 4G. I have a Playbook and barely use it to.

Its unbelievable that they're really putting this out instead of a BB10 phone first. They keep digging their own grave. Its sad.

Perhaps this was a strategy that was born in 2011 under the former CEO's. They may have forged ahead with it and began manufacturing them earlier this year.

Shouldn't CrackBerry be leading the news on blackberry and not reposting other sites? Why is there not a hands on done by a Team CrackBerry member?

Hey folks, looks like the 4G model has been released somewhere. I saw an ad in the toronto KIJIJI classified. I am not sure If I can post the link with details. I am thinking about looking at it but the price is way too much. What do you guys suggest?
http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-sell-phones-PDAs-ipods-Blackberry
-PlayBook-4G-LTE-32GB-WIFI-W0QQAdIdZ393534394

I am not sure if this guy got his from RIM or any other country but it is expensive.

Sooo they can put out another Playbook with 4G no one is gonna buy ( lets be real folks, i bought my 32gb Playbook during a firesale ONLY because it was $199.....now i wanna sell it)

but NOT a BB10 PHONE anytime this year? Really RIM? REALLY?

Ya know folks, I am really happy with my 9700/32GB internet access via bridge (except when the 9700 misbehaves), although TMobile isn't everywhere. My PB does what I want, although I have to agree - the Apps World is a joke, and the iPad appears to be the standard for commercial app access (magazine subscriptions, for example). OS2, however, has been a good improvement. I agree that RIM has really shown the world how NOT to run a company (or how to run it into the ground). Whenever I say that I'm awaiting BB10, my husband looks at me skeptically - it ain't gonna happen - but I still have faith. For now...

9700/OS5 and 32GB PB on T-Mobile
Wishing and hoping that BB10 is released SOON...

I think the 4G PB will definitely serve as a basis for BB10. After all, RIM has to somehow integrate QNX on a Cellular device right XD. If they can do it, they can do BB10.

Without skype and netflix this will not sell, regardless of price or 4G. I have no use for either of those apps but it seems to be the #1 complaint about the Playbook by a long shot.

I'm happy with my PB though, for what I use it for- mobile gaming and internet on long drives. Nice to have in the car. I don't need another data plan, so I wouldn't buy the 4G.

hey guys, I have a question. I know there are more post paid/subscriber than prepaid in US. And from an article I've just read earlier there's something wrong with carriers and mobile phone makers (you can search it with "carriers are the biggest threat to innovation" keyword).

So here's my question, how do you think that will affect blackberry? on other article I read earlier too, there's a plan from RIM to reduce the carrier cost too (you can search it under "RIM cut carrier's cost" keyword), which are good for us users in general, but how about users in US where most people are postpaid/subscribers? here in my country most people are prepaid users and handheld/mobile phone can be bought freely from anywhere and can be used with any carriers so it's not really a problem if RIM want to cut carrier's cost.