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RIM Playbook Tablet Launched Already

RIM's Playbook tablet was supposed to be launched on Thursday but the upmarket Selfridges department store in London has started to sell it with DSGi's Currys & Dixons, Best Buy, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U expecting to sell the tablet tomorrow.

We understand that some of them will offer the Playbook with a Blackberry smartphone as a bundle for as little as £37 per month with a data allowance.

The tablet will only be available in Wi-Fi version for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, costing £399, £479 and £559 respectively, matching the price of Apple's iPad 2 trio as well. Unfortunately, it doesn't yet come in white and unlike Apple's iOS doesn't have tens of thousands of native applications to choose from.

When it was announced last September, the Playbook was a groundbreaking device with a dual core 1GHz TI OMAP4 system on chip, 1GB RAM and a 7-inch WSVGA 1024x600 pixel capacitive LCD touchscreen.

Since then though a number of tablets - like the HTC Flyer, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9, the LG Optimus Pad, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and of course the Apple iPad 2 have been launched.

The rest of the tablet's specifications are on par with its rivals; Wi-Fi, Flash compatibility, HDMI output, a five-megapixel rear camera with a three-megapixel front facing one, GPS, stereo speakers and Blackberry's own Tablet OS which is based on QNX OS.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.