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BlackBerry Playbook gets official pricing

After months of specualtion, RIM has officially announced the pricing for its BlackBerry Playbook tablet devices.

The Canadian outfit says that the business-centric iPad killer will be on sale in more than 20,000 US and Canadian retail outlets, although the exact date of the launch remains a mystery.

Keeping its promise to keep the seven-inch device under the $500 mark, RIM has done just that with the 16GB Wi-Fi only base model weighing in at $499. Pumping up the RAM to 32GB or 64GB will set you back $599 and $699 respectively but there's no news on the premium for punters wanting cellular connectivity.

There's also no indication of when the UK or the rest of Europe will get a look-in.

Best Buy looks like it might have put in the highest bid for Playbook stocks as it is currently the only retailer offering pre-ordering, which went live today.

Office Depot, Radio Shack and Staples join the list of operators offering the device in the near future.

With Apple flogging the second generation of the genre-defining 10-inch iPad at the same price, it remains to be seen whether BlackBerry's loyal fan base, and RIM's bomb-proof messaging service, will make an impact on the iPad's dominance of the tablet market.