Two new Blackberry Playbooks in 2012

Posted by Mike Luttrell

Although the flagship Playbook tablet has been a commercial flop, RIM wants to keep the brand alive.

Leaked internal documents from Research in Motion, reportedly received by the website N4bb.com, show that the new Playbook tablets is the company's priority right now. Two new models will launch before the new Blackberry 10 operating system.

A new 7-inch model will apparently be heading out in April, while an iPad-size 10-inch version will be available by the end of the year. The current Playbook model has a 7-inch display.

Among the enhancements with the upgraded 7-inch device is the addition of mobile network connectivity. Specifically, it will be able to connect to an HSPA+ network, which is what T-Mobile uses for its '4G' network. AT&T also has an HSPA+ infrastructure but has been upgrading its 4G system to the much more powerful LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard.

So the new Playbook could be compatible with either T-Mobile or AT&T; our money would be on AT&T, one of RIM's strongest supporters.

Meanwhile, it seems that the new Blackberry phone operating system could be coming out even later than expected. Originally due out early this year, Blackberry 10 was recently pushed back to the second half of 2012, and now it seems the new platform won't be available until September at the earliest.

These are all moves that many believe are only pronlonging the inevitable. The Blackberry brand is dying and incremental hardware and software updates cannot really bring it back to life at this point.

In the end, a much more likely scenario will be along the lines of Nokia, which used to have its own proprietary OS but is now making phones powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

But we'll see if RIM can somehow manage to stay afloat.