Research In Motion will introduce a new version of its slumping PlayBook tablet for Canadians. The 4G LTE PlayBook will go up for sale on August 9 at Rogers, Bell and Telus outlets. It will have 32GB of storage and the price depends on the region and the carrier. Telus, for its part, has said that it plans on selling it for $549.99.
While the PlayBook might impress a small segment of consumers, it’s hard to consider this as anything less than a stopgap to assuage those waiting (and waiting) for the BlackBerry 10 product line to emerge. RIM has already delayed the new products until the start of 2013, at least, so it stands to reason that the “new” and faster PlayBook is meant to take some of the heat off. It appears that RIM is sort of releasing a “new product,” but it doesn’t appear that many are fooled.
“Consumers are past the PlayBook now and they’re waiting to see what happens with BlackBerry 10,” said PC Magazine’s Sascha Segan, lead analyst for mobile devices. “RIM is in a tough spot now because it needs to keep putting out some products while it waits for BlackBerry 10. So the PlayBook LTE is a way to show that RIM can keep up with current network technologies even as it’s mostly geared toward revving up for BlackBerry 10.”
RIM has been marketing the PlayBook heavily as “ready for corporate email systems,” adding that it “keeps business information secure and separate from personal information.”
The “new” PlayBook will also feature better video streaming, multi-party video conferencing and “fewer delays” – all by virtue of its use of the 4G LTE network, of course.
It’s hard to imagine the “new” PlayBook sparking much interest, especially if the price is still quite high – all things considered – and if the ship has sailed on its popularity. RIM’s best bet is still BlackBerry 10 products, but the delays aren’t helping and the bar will be set higher than ever by the time they are released. The Waterloo company finds itself in a tough spot, to say the least, and this desperate grab for cash will only satiate a small segment of consumers.