RIM Blackberry Playbook To Cost less Than $500

The first RIM tablet, the Blackberry Playbook, will cost less than $500 in the US, just over £310, according to a statement by the co-CEO of RIM, Jim Balsillie, pitting it against the Apple iPad.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Balsillie said that the product will be very competitively priced and will go on sale in the first quarter of 2011 in limited territories before expanding globally in Q2.

The device was unveiled back in September and immediately attracted our criticism for the rather "playful" name, an oddity given that RIM will squarely target businesses and enterprises.

That said we were wowed by the hardware that powers it. It is thinner than all Blackberry handsets on the market and the rest of the competition. It is also by far the fastest tablet on the market thanks to a ARM-based dual core processor clocked at 1GHz and manufactured by Marvell.

Add in 1GB RAM, the ability to run Flash 10.1, WiFi, microHDMI, a five-megapixel rear facing camera and a three-megapixel front facing one plus full 2D/3D hardware accelerated graphics and it would sure give netbooks a run for their money.

The Playbook also sports a 7-inch 1024x600 pixels touchscreen and is powered by QNX Real-time OS, a move by RIM from the usual Blackberry OS platform. The iPad currently commands an impressive lead in the tablet computer market with 95 per cent share in the third quarter according to Strategy Analytics.