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RIM Playbook due for release in March/April – iPad beater?

Many had anticipated that the upcoming RIM PlayBook tablet might be delayed for many months, however RIM announced that it is on track and due for release in March or April.

Research In Motion’s Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie said today at the World Mobile Congress that the tablets development is proceeeding as they anticipated. He also made a point to dismiss analyst reports that the PlayBook models in testing have shown to have terrible battery life compare with competitor products.

The pricing is said to be set now at less than $500, but that could drop depending on carrier subsidies. They have already secured a deal with Sprint in the U.S. and Balsillie said he is confident that deals could be struck with other carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless. RIM already has 580 carrier partners in 165 countries, so support is certainly not lacking at launch.

The big question everyone is asking is simple. Will the PlayBook be enough to mount a serious challenge against Apple’s iPad? While the iPhone is growing in strength amongst the business audience, the Blackberry remains the world’s most popular smart phone with sales 48 percent of overall subscribers outside the North American marketplace.

Playbook will have some advantages over the iPad, one of the main ones being that it will support Adobe Flash conent, popular across the net.

While analysts are confident that the PlayBook will support some Android applications, Balsillie has declined to say whether the tablet will support applications written for Googles Android operating system.

KitGuru says: One of this years hottest tablets? Not long to wait now.

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