Playbook rumored for April 10 launch

Posted by Mark Raby

The latest information suggests Research in Motion's Blackberry tablet, the Playbook, will be released on April 10 but it's unclear at this point which carrier will be the first to offer mobile data services for it.

It's already been reported that RIM has made multiple versions of the tablet to correspond to all of the major mobile providers' networks.

There had been speculation that the device would be available by the end of March, but now a firm date is floating around, with Internet sources claiming April 10 to be the sweet spot.

RIM reportedly placed an order for a million units of the Playbook from its overseas manufacturing partners in January.

It's going to be a very important product for RIM. The company has been literally bleeding out subscribers. Even though it still remains the #1 smartphone platform in the US, that lead is diminishing very quickly.

The Playbook is seen by many as the company's last chance to stay on top before it's completely gobbled up by Android or the iPhone, but it has a lot of competition. In addition to the iPad which is its direct competitor, Samsung's Galaxy Tab is making waves, and Motorola's Xoom tablet - which will also be 4G-capable - is catching a lot of attention.

RIM's last move to compete against the new mobile giants was a huge failure. The Blackberry Torch, the first to include RIM's brand new Blackberry operating system, was seen as nothing more than a minor incremental upgrade to the increasingly-dated Blackberry software. For Playbook, it's a completely new, from-the-ground-up operating system.