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RIM at loggerheads with iPad, prices PlayBook below $500

RIM’s BlackBerry is at loggerheads with Apple’s iPad. The Canadian smartphone maker launched it’s much talked about tablet computer, the PlayBook and pitted it against the ever dominant iPad. Not only are that Playbook features designed to woo the tablet, especially the iPad customers but RIM has announced that it will price the tablet below $500 mark to give Apple a tough competition.

Apple currently sells the Wi-Fi only iPad for $499 and 3G iPads from $699 to $829. RIM might just prompt the customers’ preference for PlayBook for two reasons, first the competitive price tag and second the Adobe Flash that enables the users to run videos and graphics which is not currently present in the iPad.

The announcement came from RIM’s co-chief Jim Balsillie at the G-20 Summit in Seoul; he further stated that the tablet will be first introduced in North America in the Q1 of 2011 and globally in Q2 later in 2011. He further informed that South Korea, Japan and Asia will be the key markets for the PlayBook. But the executive declined to comment anything about the specific price of tablet and about the official carriers of the device and just confirmed that it will be price below $500.

With the PlayBook launch, RIM seeks to grab a larger share in the ever growing tablet market of which iPad is the supreme leader. It is noteworthy that Apple has so far sold about 7 million iPad units in the market and remains a tablet king till date. RIM also sees Samsung’s Galaxy Tab as another contender in the tablet race. Samsung also plans to beat the rival iPad and aims to sell one million Galaxy Tabs by the end of this year.

Rim’s PlayBook features a 22 cms wide screen and provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity that enables it users to connect to the web via their smartphones. The device has front and back cameras that offer video conferencing and uses BlackBerry’s OS. The tablet uses Marvell’s ARMADA 618 processor.

Following RIM’s announcement about the PlayBook price, the company rose $3.44 or 6.3% to $58.44 at the Nasdaq Stock Market. This is the highest level achieved by the company and the biggest gain in four months. It is believed that with the PlayBook RIM would be able to gain back its market share which it lost in the smartphone segment primarily due to the rising popularity of Android devices and Apple’s iOS.