LTE Blackberry Playbook finally a reality

Posted by Mark Raby

Research in Motion will launch its 4G LTE-powered tablet on August 9.

But like many things the company has done in the last couple years, it might be too little, too late. When the new high-speed version of the device was announced, LTE tablets were still a nascent technology, and we also didn't have the Nexus 7. Oh, and Surface didn't exist either.

Now that the new Playbook is actually coming to the market, its luster seems to be completely lost, especially since there has been no real update to the operating system powering the device.

Although the original Playbook was praised for its use of the QNX operating system, a brand new platform built from the ground up, it has been plagued with problems, not the least of which is the highly competitive nature of the tablet market which is not at all amenable to a non-Android, non-iPad offering.

Among the other problems is that when the Playbook was released, it was missing seemingly basic features like calendar and messaging apps. In addition, the 7-inch format wasn't exactly a good fit for enterprise users, who have largely gravitated to the more powerful 10-inch model used by the iPad.

RIM gained some credit for the Playbook 2.0 firmware update in which it addressed the issues like providing native calendar and contacts apps, but it has still been unable to generate any excitement for the device.

It finally did that when rumors of an LTE Playbook came to light, but this market is just evolving too quickly for RIM to keep up.

Nevertheless, we'll see how it stands up. The LTE device launches in RIM's native Canada next week, with other regions expected to get it "in the coming months," the company said.