Blackberry Playbook will be less than $500

Posted by Mark Raby

While not much has been said of Research in Motion's Blackberry OS-based iPad killer since it was first announced a few months ago, recent speculation does show it has one thing going for it: an affordable price.

RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview with Bloomberg that consumers can expect a sub-$500 price point for the Playbook when it comes out in the second quarter of 2011.

The Playbook will feature a 1 GHz ARM processor, 1 GB of RAM, dual cameras with 720p HD capabilities, and a 7-inch display.

The Playbook will run on a brand new operating system, an interesting move considering many expected it to make use of the new Blackberry 7 platform that launched earlier this year. Instead, RIM is designing something completely new for the tablet.

The new Blackberry operating system was a total bust. Reviews of the updated platform said it was nothing more than an incremental upgrade of an archaic OS, when what RIM really needed to do was build something from the ground up.

The Playbook will be the first tablet really marketed to the enterprise crowd, Blackberry's bread and butter. One thing Blackberry is known for is its affordable phones, and it looks like that strategy will be going to its tablet plans as well. The Playbook is one of few serious competitors that could take a chunk of interest away from the iPad, along with Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab.

The thing that could cripple Samsung's Galaxy Tab is its price. At $600 - $700 (depending on the mobile provider), it's really no cheaper than an iPad. For most people, if you're going to spend that much money on a tablet, you'll buy an iPad. It does nothing to attract the non-Android-enthusiast crowd.