Research In Motion Introduces the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

BlackBerry PlayBook
By Adam Zeis on 2 Aug 2012 08:36 am EDT
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We've been hearing rumors non-stop for weeks now, and it looks like the 4G BlackBerry PlayBook is finally upon us. The new PlayBook supports 4G LTE networks and is available first in Canada with other regions including the US and Europe to follow.  While there is no mention of price, the 4G LTE PlayBook will be available in with 32GB of memory from Bell, Rogers and TELUS in Canada on August 9, 2012.

Press Release

WATERLOO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - August 02, 2012) - Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM)(TSX: RIM) today launched the new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with built-in support for cellular networks. The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook maintains a sleek and ultra-portable form while delivering overall faster performance over the original BlackBerry PlayBook, as well as support for blazing fast 4G LTE networks. Launching in Canada first, the new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook allows customers to work more productively and connect to the Internet, as well as access their email, on-line apps, media and content, from more places than ever.

"We're excited to bring customers the first BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with support for 4G LTE networks," said David J. Smith, Executive Vice President, Mobile Computing at Research In Motion. "The new 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook offers a broad range of premium features, including a stunning 7 inch display, front and rear facing HD video cameras, HDMI out and stereo speakers, and it also offers premium performance on high speed cellular networks, helping customers to be more productive than ever and to make the most of their time on the go."

Featuring the latest BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2 software, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet gives customers access to high speed mobile networks around the world (LTE and HSPA+)(1) and offers an exceptional, high-fidelity, fast web experience that supports more HTML5 functionality than any other native tablet browser on the market(2). The powerful unified inbox allows users to easily manage multiple personal and work email accounts, as well as messages from Twitter®, Facebook® and LinkedIn, all in one place. The built-in Calendar and Contacts apps offer features to help customers better manage schedules and prepare for more effective meetings. Plus, the apps' unique integration with social networks can provide customers with a wealth of information about their contacts at their fingertips.

The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is also enterprise ready. It can be easily managed with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and includes BlackBerry® Balance technology, which allows a user to use a BlackBerry PlayBook for both work and personal purposes by keeping business information highly secure and separate from personal information.

Out of the box, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet comes preloaded with the tools customers need to be productive as well as to have fun, whether in the office, at home or on the road. Thousands of apps for work and play are also available on the BlackBerry App World storefront, such as the recently launched BlackBerry Video Store for all PlayBook customers in Canada, bringing additional functionality and value to customers. The BlackBerry Video Store offers a catalog of thousands of movies and TV shows. Customers can begin watching media as soon as they start to download a file, so they won't have to wait for the entire file to transfer before they can begin enjoying great entertainment on the tablet's high resolution display or on an HDTV using the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet's HDMI output. Canadians can download the free Video Store app on BlackBerry App World.

The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will come with 32GB of memory storage and will be available from Bell, Rogers and TELUS in Canada on August 9, 2012. Additional variants of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet supporting various high speed cellular networks are expected to be available in the coming months from carriers in the US, Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information about the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, please visit: http://ca.blackberry.com/playbook-tablet.html. Data plans are sold separately.(3)

(1) LTE connectivity is currently only available from a limited number of carriers in specific countries. Where LTE is not available, the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can automatically adjust to connect on HSPA+.

(2) As measured by the independent HTML5 test site at http://html5test.com/results/tablet.html

(3) Check with your wireless service provider for availability, terms and conditions.

Reader comments

Research In Motion Introduces the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet

142 Comments

Will be up to the Carriers,

I'm hoping they offer it subsidized on contract

I don't NEED one, but would get one for the right price

What are you willing for pay for with a three year contract? Doesn't matter what the price is unless you get a contact and then it will be up to the carrier.

I'd pay $199 for a 2-year contract. It"d be silly to ask $300, and even $250 is a bit much under a 2-year contract.

Are those retooled and reboxed existing playbooks (with a 4g module slotted in) or are we going to see another write-down in the next quarter?

I'm curious about the price point. If they price it like the did the OG Playbook, I would think it's going to land with a gigantic thud. I love my 64gb PB, but the idea of being always connected via cell tower is somewhat enticing, indeed.

I'm wondering what will happen to those of us that have already switched to the tethering plan offered by our carriers how would they or would they allow a bait and switch. I gave up my grandfather plan in order to make use of the PB. Sounds like BB went to sleep and missed a major opportunity by rolling out the LTE so late and lost some of the fan base to the Android crowd.

I just read the release date is August 9 here in Canada, as we get first crack at it. The rest of the world is gonna have to wait. Sorry USA Canada is FIRST this time!!!!!
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

* BlackBerry by choice *
I don't care so long as someone gets it :)
If Canada gets it 1st then so be it. (they should anyway I think)
I'm in the US and if it his Canada then we won't be far behind.
Here's hoping you are correct.

Funny think is I awoke to a OS update on my PB this morning ... showing up as 2.0.1.668 at 319 MB ... interesting ... here we go 8) download begins ....

I'm a little disappointed that they weren't able to do an exclusive launch with Bell for the Olympics. Now it's too late.

Another question I have, where is BlackBerry Bridge 2.1?

2.0.1 has many fixes, but the biggest change is supporting the 4G PlayBook and the cellular configuration. You'll have to wait for 2.1.x to get new functionality on the WiFi PlayBook. It's coming :)

Before all the people get their panties in an uproar about pricing. The only way that you would purchase this is with a contract which will make the price subsidized. Why would you purchase a LTE device at full price and not get a contact. I have heard that with a three year contract, these would be 199 dollars.

For people that wold truly use a cell signal on a daily basis with the PB, a contract might be okay. Otherwise, you might as well buy it outright, those 3 years will add up like crazy. And 3 years is a loooong time, especially with only 32 gigs of storage.

If you aren't using a cell signal on a daily business, you shouldn't be buying a LTE tablet. Use a phone like the 9900 to be a hotspot for your tablet. As for 32GB, it's 4 times as large as the storage on a Nexus 7 base model. Why anyone would limit a tablet to 8/16GB is beyond me.

If you use your PB for music, 2.0 does NOT work well. The music player in 2.0 is unable to read playlists correctly. RIM acknowledged this bug even before 2.0.1 was released, but did not fix it in time. Apparently, it has been fixed in 2.1, according to those using the beta.

I have no problems with that. Test it close to home and expand from there. If the US had a better reception to non-US companies, then it wouldn't be as problematic. But in the US, unless you are a US company (Apple, MS, Google), customers don't want your products.

You have to hand it to Americans. When their economy is in trouble they do tend to rally around home grown companies. The tech and auto industries are great examples, supported by the tech and auto press. It will be interesting to see how they react to a new Blackberry platform in the New Year.

What OS does Samsung smartphones run? Android. And who owns Android? Google. And where is Google located? USA. Thanks for playing..

So, your argument is that consumers are "buying" an American OS that Google gives away from a Korean company and that means that they are supporting the USA? Thanks for playing, I suppose.

Just received a 2x 3MB update on my 2.1 beta too, rebooting, will report if anything new, but I expect it to be some kind of minor update.

EDIT: OK,so it's 2.1.560, didn't notice anything fancy by now ;)

If I were a betting guy, I'd put money down on the next week or two. According to Bla1ze, internal RIM builds of 2.1 are at 2.1.0.800 and the 4G PlayBook is releasing next week.. so hopefully we are getting close.

If that were the case why not just hold off another week or two and launch the 4g with 2.1?

2.1 is far off i suspect October :/

Would it have hurt their cost saving efforts to do a live online launch in a presentation room in waterloo? That way they would have released the suite of adverts that they surely have to market the 4G PB?
Plus.
Was 2.1 too far away to wait for, and group together with the launch?
Right now it's so low key RIM seems to be trying not to catch anyone's attention.

Seems like a very low key launch. RIM is not suggesting that this is anything extraordinary. Good move because people are so skeptical.

Yes, for such a large download, would have hoped for 2.1 , plus why such a large maintenance unless 2.1 release not really as soon as expected

The updates could have touched a lot of the system and some of the core code/system might have been changed and it was better to release full OS update vs trying to figure out all the differences in a small patch. I see no problem with that.

Canada gets the first treatment? That is so cool. Finally, a Canadian company can release a product to Canada first. Call Guiness!!!!

Just read an article that at CNET that Blackberry Finally Releases a 4G LTE Tablet. You would think that 4G LTE tables were common place and everyone has one. If I remember correctly Apple had to drop its 4G from the New iPad as it really wasn't. There is no need for finallys, RIM is working its way up again and long may it continue.

Additionally the haters have jumped on the comments bandwagon there already

*Blackberry By Choice" \m/

I can't speak for other places in the world but the "New" iPad on both Verizon and AT&T here in the State both have LTE radios - that's as 4G as it gets here.

This suggests that they were telling the truth last year about having to wait for BB10 till the 4G chipset was good enough. It also suggests that the Playbook is indeed used as a test vehicle for the new tech before it appears in the phones.

Now all we need is 4G in the UK...Government dropped the ball on that one badly.

Will wait till they price drop again like they did with the first one which i paid 699 and everbody else bought for 199

This is going to be different. It will be up to the carriers what the price will be. Would you buy a LTE tablet without a cellular contact?

Just finished updating the OS. I had the Beat so I only had to download 3MB update. No noticeable difference but seemed like it booted up little faster. I wish Rim can publish the Change log ?

They are testing their LTE design issues with LTE playbook with a hope that they can learn the bugs and fix them by the time launch their BB10 based LTE phones. They want BB10 launch to be near perfect since this is their last chance.

North America(NA) is a trendsetter for smartphones. This is where Blackberry gained its initial mainstream success and eventually will also lose it if it does nothing or is not succesful with BB10.

RIM is fine now, but they need to be a major player again in the NA. They cant ignore NA.

As I live in the country where HSPA+ is the norm, and probably will be for the foreseeable future, I think this will be a great tablet. It will be interesting to see how the transceiver adjusts on my frequent trips into LTE zones (ie: into the city). I would imagine the price will be in line with what the Telco's are offering the the Samsung and HTC tablets at, since the specs are very similar. I think that the OS 2.1 will be available shortly after the official release of the new PlayBooks, or maybe even by the time of the official release (keeping my fingers crossed). My preference would be for a 64 GB version, in keeping with the one I currently have, but I don't know if I can hold out that long. Finally, I'm wondering if the new PlayBooks will have the ability to be set up as WiFi hotspots like my current 9900 and 9320 can?

I'd also be willing to bet that the radio sets (transceivers) are an order of magnitude better then anything offered in an Apple or Android products. Remember Paratek Adaptive RF being purchased by RIM? I'm really excited to see all of RIM's efforts coming together in finished products and I think CrackBerry would do well to pay special attention to the capabilities of the radio sets in these units.

Can I use the Rogers Simcard (currently using on my 9900 with 6GB data) on the new 4G playbook>? or Rogers would charge more money to let me use the same plan with playbook?

CMO is still on probation in CB fans' eyes.

Lets see some agressive marketing campanigns for the 4G LTE Playbook starting now! Dont wait til its too late.

Need to start a hype around Blackberry again and in preparation for BB!0 next year.

I'll wait until WIND gets the playbook released on the AWS 1700 frequencies. Until then, my 16GB playbook will kick ass. I'm using it until it no longer functions.

Only 32GB to start? Bummer!! I have the 64 and want an LTE unit but I don't like the drop in size. Being a very impatient person, I won't be waiting but 32?????? (insert bad words here.....and lots of them)

Noted in the specs

tablet-specs-hardware-wifi/4G
1.5 GHz dual core processor
1 GB RAM

tablet-specs-hardware-wifi
1 GHz dual core processor
1 GB RAM

Just wondering why it is not planned to release in Asia Pacific?? What about Hong Kong? We are one of the most advanced cities in term of 4G development. Don't miss out Hong Kong please RIM!! :):)

Australia's not on the list for this new model release either!!

Odd, since we've been running HSPA+ for years and 4G coverage improves by the month!!!

My current PB has been running HSPA+ without any problems and that's via a mifi device .... I get full bars on the majority of occasions.

Wondering if our carriers didn't want to pick it up ...

Irrespective I only ever buy outright and then I choose my carrier - that's easy to do here.

Rim need to put in Chinese language before they launch playbook in Hong Kong. Sadly, it's been two years since the device is on the market. I don't understand why RIM is ignoring a potential huge market in the East.

RIM did not sell the first playbook and is launching a 2nd one? I love my playbook but the lack of app support is ruining the chances of it selling. I don't know why they are not getting app support its a great machine. But regardless, the 2nd playbook is going to sell.

I've offically had enough w BB .... I in north america and am currently using a 9930 ...was going to buy a new playbook and a BB 10 device but I'm not that loyal to any OS or phone company. I prefer the bold having owned a nexus and 4s but its clear where BB's loyalties lie...not to mention all these crap compaines w newer versions of OS then verizon has.

Wish I could say its been a plesant ride. Bye BB & CB : (

Are you pissy because Canada gets the PB LTE version first?
Bye that argument, Canadians should have thrown in the towel months ago when you Maaricans got the video store before us.

This isn't a tit for tat thing. Logistically speaking, and with the previous release lesson learned, start off with the smaller of the two markets, work out the kinks, then do the 'proper' release Stateside.
With any luck, a few more carriers south of the 49 will finally wake up and have shared data plans to make use of the PB LTE

Trust me, I'd be pretty PO'd if you guys got the LTE version first then us, but I wouldn't toss my loyalty because of it.

On the Verizon OS issue....take it up with Verizon, not RIM. It's their slack asses that are to blame.

Hopefully one day RIM will move away from carrier branded OS' to avoid such frustrations. Trust me yet again. Having both a Telus and Rogers berry, I would LOVE for Telus to NOT have a hand in the OS 'tweaking'

Expect to pay more for your data plans as the carriers will most likely sell you a business data plan.

I just hope that Virgin Mobile Canada decides to pickup on the tablet.

I sure hope it works with corporates who do not have a BES server (my employer does not) but i was able to get my wifi PlayBook set up on active sync on my company server and all i need is a wifi signal and my VPN and i have access to corporate emails...

Its definitely hurt the stock today, and it continues to get worse.

-3.68% and dropping as I type this.

Mikhou, Have you seen the rest of the market today? Where is Facebook? THe Wall street is Bleeding and do you expect RIM to be up 10%?

The rest of the market is down, but no more than 1%. Rim was holding its own until the announce...then it started droppng fast.

Am I wrong, or is this the FIRST 7 inch tablet to have cellular capabilities? if so, then why haven't any of the other maker's of tablets in this form factor equipped their offering with 4G LTE capabilities? Gee whiz, is RIM leading the pack, AGAIN?

The original Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 inch had 3g in the USA and I think there was a 4g model planned too but not sure if it materialized
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

Actually there are, or were:
- Galaxy Tab 7 (3G)
- Galaxy Tab 7.7 (3G) Apple had this banned in Europe, not sure about North America and I can't find any for sale.
- HTC Flyer (3G) Not sure they even make this anymore. I've found the wifi only offered at $500.
- Dell Streak 7 (4G) Don't know if this ever got produced or not

Since what constitutes a 3G, or 4G signal seems to be a moving target, let's not even start that discussion. Finding a 7" tablet that claims to have any kind of cellular capability is hard, finding one for sale and on the shelf, or even on back order, would appear to be almost impossible. And I have found absolutely nothing else offered in 4G LTE.

This should tell us all that 2.1 is no were even near ready to launch otherwise the 4g would have launched with it. October for 2.1 im thinking.

It doesnt make sense to come out with a 4G LTE Playbook if the first one didnt do so well. It wasnt the 3G that did it ( or shall i say didnt do it) it was the fact of not offering certain features a tablet should have....RIM should have waited and came out with a totally redesigned Playbook with OS 10.

Do you own a wi-fi PB? If you had, you would realize the PB software has gone to v2.0 which makes it a complete different beast.

You talked about PB from only the hardware perspective and forgot the other important part - software.

My experience with the v.2.0.668 is fantastic. Everything is faster. Apps are great. I like the Maxthon browser and the OSMand navigation.

LTE PB will be great with the extra horse power and many times faster Internet access.

Its not that I'm pissy .... Just sick of waiting and waiting ... Who knows when when "coming months " will be w RIM. I've held out on a tablet purcahse and this doesn't seem to be a game changer to me in my opinion , if anything a lesser product then ipad / high end android tablets & apps. It actually makes me loose faith in the BB 10 phones that are " around Q1 of 2013 " done waiting around for a company on its heels w one foot in the grave while the big dogs blow past them and will contiune to do. Releasing tech products decades ahead of RIM....eyyhh

Btw I'm not trolling. Stating my opioin and thought. Seeing as I'm using a 9930

4G PlayBook! I'd get one for my dad, but it depends on the price point, I don't think he would be interested in getting a plan considering he already has an expensive plan for his iPhone. Kinda makes me want to get one for myself and just give him my Wi-Fi only PlayBook considering I don't have a plan... If the unsubsidized price for 4G 32 GB PB is around $300, I'd be willing to give it a look over say the Google Nexus. I think the PB is pretty much dirt cheap at this point, hard to find a better deal.

Why still no expandable memory? Surely a tiny little SD card slot would not hurt?

Its the only thing stopping me from buying. I'm just not convinced 32gb or even 64gb is big enough.

I just read the release date is August 9 here in Canada, as we get first crack at it. The rest of the world is gonna have to wait.

This is indeed exciting news considering all you hear about RIM these days is bad news. THe three worst peices of news are

1: RIM loses 142 million lawsuit last week
2: RIM CEO says they will have to find someone to develop BB10 as RIM doesnt have the money

So this Playbook 4g LTE is a very welcome piece of good news. I'm just hoping this 4G LTE Playbook is a whole new Playbook and not just some reboxed old PLaybook with a 4G LTE chipset added

I want Playbook to survive as much as the next guy, but even more so as I got my wife the Samsung Galaxy Tab she wanted and a Playbook for myself. She says buying a Playbook was a big mistake. So far I haven't regretted it. Don't let me down RIM!!!!!
__________________________
Playbook, the one and only

With respect to your assertion:

"2: RIM CEO says they will have to find someone to develop BB10 as RIM doesnt have the money"

You should really go read the actual article, because your statement is so far out of context and erroneous that some might consider it Trolling. And it doesn't cast you in a very favourable light.

It can't be used in either Europe or Asia, the frequencies does not cover 800mhz, 1800mhz or 2600mhz, so an iPad failure all over again.

Would a PlayBook 4G have a faster connection than a regular Playbook connected via internet tethering on a Bold 9900?

For those asking why no support in Australia/ Asia Pac/ Europe - it won't work over LTE and you will only get 3G speeds.

According to the Canadian spec sheet the chip supports 700/1700 Mhz LTE.

Think the iphone 4s was 700/2100 for comparison.
Aus/ Asia and most Euro networks are using 1800MHz for LTE, and may ultimately add 700Mhz as additional spectrum comes up...

Much like in Australia where apply had to withdraw ads for the iphone being 4G, given it couldnt actually work on any 4G networks.

Presumably there are no multi-bandwidth LTE radios out yet, so maybe RIM will release a separate LTE1800 version ???

Love current playbook australian version would be good but why when normally have blackberry phone to bridge. With

I'd do some radical things to get one of these, can't buy one so I hope I'm lucky enough to win this. I've been a fanatic for RIM for 6 years now and don't see anything about that changing in the future except that my old curve is EOL and the Playbook would fill in the gap between voice and my obsession with mobility and computing. I love writing apps and such but the simulator is a far cry from actually having the real thing to work on and living a predominately nomadic life increases the need even more.
Not being one of the 1% and trying to live off disability is hard as heck so If I pay the bill for my plan I can't buy the PB and if I buy the PB I can't afford a plan to use it,
OH PLEASE LET ME BE THE WINNER !!!!