RIM PlayBook tablet coming April 19 for $499

rim_playbook.top.jpgResearch in Motion's PlayBook tablet will go on sale next month at the same price as the iPad. By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet will go on sale on April 19, starting at $499 -- the same price as its main rival, the Apple iPad.

RIM announced early Tuesday that the Blackberry PlayBook will be sold through several retailers, including AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Best Buy said separately that it will start accepting pre-orders Tuesday.

The 16 gigabyte PlayBook will cost $499, a 32GB version is $599 and a 64GB is $699.

The PlayBook is smaller than the iPad, with a 7-inch screen. It's built around a new platform from QNX Software Systems, and it features Flash-capable video plus a front and rear high-definition camera. The PlayBook runs on a 1 GHz dual-core processor and includes 1 GB of RAM.

Each of the PlayBook models is Wi-Fi enabled, though they cannot connect to 3G without tethering to a BlackBerry. The tablet will be available in more than 20,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

RIM is gunning for Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), which sold 14.8 million iPads in 2010. But other competitors, like the Motorola Xoom, have popped up in 2011 -- a recent study says a whopping 102 tablets are slated for release this year.

One analyst predicts that the saturated market will be too much for RIM, which reports quarterly earnings Thursday.

"It's nice to see the PlayBook come out, but it would almost be better if RIM didn't have it," said Edward Snyder, managing director at Charter Equity Research.

"You want to think you'll be the winner, but everyone is under pressure to get into the market, so it's not an attractive business to grab share," Snyder added.

Snyder said "the chatter is positive" around the PlayBook, but he expects RIM will sell less than 500,000 tablets by mid-year. He thinks customers will turn instead to Android-based tablets like the Motorola Xoom, which take advantage of Google's updates to its operating system.

If RIM doesn't sell 1 million PlayBooks by the end of 2011, Snyder expects "investors will be soured on the whole tablet thing" and the stock could sell off moderately.

That said, Snyder expects RIM investors to continue focusing on the company's core smartphone business. RIM (RIMM) shares closed the trading session up 24 cents, or 0.39%.

Matthew Hoffman, analyst at Cowen & Co., said in a research note Tuesday that he was maintaining an "underperform" rating on RIM stock. Still, he called the PlayBook RIM's "most important new product in years." To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,131.97 100.83 0.59%
Nasdaq 4,552.76 33.86 0.75%
S&P 500 1,998.98 14.85 0.75%
Treasuries 2.59 -0.00 -0.08%
Data as of 9:33pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 100.86 -0.77 -0.76%
Bank of America Corp... 16.71 -0.03 -0.18%
Yahoo! Inc 42.71 0.16 0.38%
Alcoa Inc 16.16 -0.23 -1.40%
Facebook Inc 76.08 1.50 2.01%
Data as of 4:02pm ET

Sections

Scotland's independence vote is too close to call but those who want to keep Britain united won this year's campaign funding race by some distance. More

The FBI's new facial recognition system lets local police easily identify you. It will one day spot you from your iris, voice and the way you walk. More

Y Combinator president Sam Altman is teaching a startup class at Stanford with Silicon Valley heavy hitters as guest lecturers. Bonus: All the videos will be available for free online. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.