The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was announced in September without a price but an executive at RIM—producer of the BlackBerry—said yesterday the device will sell early next year for under $500.
Also the 7-inch tablet may be sold through retail stores including Target and Best Buy as well as wireless carriers, RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg.
While the iPad, which starts at $499, enjoys a 95 percent market share, its selective distribution excludes most consumer electronics retailers at present. Tablets such as the BlackBerry PlayBook and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab may prove welcome tablet alternatives for retailers.
The PlayBook PlayBook offers WiFi and Bluetooth and it can tether to a BlackBerry smartphone for a 3G connection. It runs on the QNX operating system (which is popular in cars).
It acts a second, larger screen when tethered to a BlackBerry by a Bluetooth connection. In the future 3G and 4G PlayBooks are expected.
RIM also hopes the tablet will be used in cars as aftermarket front and rear screens. It attended the KnowledgeFest car electronics show in October to encourage aftermarket companies to develop car mounting kits and other devices for the tablet.