Sprint Ditches RIM PlayBook 4G

Dennis Faas's picture

Less than a month after BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) announced it would lay off thousands of employees, Sprint has now revealed that it will not release the RIM's PlayBook 4G tablet, dealing the already hurting firm yet another blow.

According to Sprint, the decision to not release the PlayBook 4G was reached mutually with RIM, and is related primarily to technical incompatibility.

RIM, Sprint Headed in Different Directions

"We apologize for any inconvenience but the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook tablet that was announced in January for summer availability will no longer be coming to the Sprint network," said Sprint spokesperson, Michelle Mermelstein.

"This was a mutual decision between Sprint and RIM. Sprint currently offers a WiFi BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet in all of our retail channels." (Source: pcmag.com)

According to RIM, the technologies embraced by Sprint just didn't meet with their own interests. "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." (Source: wired.com)

PlayBooks Hard to Come By in US

No matter the spin, the reality is that there's only one version of the PlayBook tablet being offered via US cell phone carriers right now, and that's Sprint's WiFi-only device. Available for $499.99, Sprint has only committed to selling this version until September 8, 2011.

Beyond that, the PlayBook is unavailable south of the US border. Even though the company revealed plans for an LTE-based PlayBook back in the early spring, neither Verizon nor AT&T have committed to selling the product. LTE stands for "Long Term Evolution" and is an upcoming standard in mobile phone network technology. (Source: wikipedia.org)

That probably has a lot to do with middling reviews for the device, which was released back in April. According to PCMag reviewer Tim Gideon, the PlayBook is simply "outmatched by competitors with more versatile and complete feature sets." (Source: pcmag.com)

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