RIM partners with Verizon, AT&T; puts PlayBook on sale for $499

ORLANDO, Fla.--Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) said it will sell its PlayBook tablet through both Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), capping a trifecta of U.S. carrier partnerships that began with a deal announced in January for a WiMAX version of the gadget for Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S). The BlackBerry maker also said the Wi-Fi-only version of the long-awaited tablet will go on sale April 19 for a base price of $499.

The PlayBook, which was announced last September, will come in three variants initially. The 16 GB Wi-Fi version will go for $499, while the 32 GB model will sell for $599 and the 64 GB model will go for $699. Those prices are the same as the Wi-Fi versions of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad 2, which flew off shelves after going on sale earlier this month. 

RIM, which has talked up the feedback it has received for the PlayBook from enterprise customers, said the gadget will eventually go on sale at 20,000 retail locations across the U.S. and Canada. Customers can begin pre-ordering the device today, and it will eventually be on sale at Best Buy, RadioShack, Staples, Office Depot and also through the carriers Cellular South and Cincinnati Bell in the U.S.

RIM unveiled LTE and HSPA+ versions of the PlayBook at Mobile World Congress, and it was widely assumed that Verizon and AT&T would eventually be named carrier partners. The PlayBook sports a 1 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM as well as support for Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Adobe Mobile AIR and HTML5.

For more:
- see this RIM release
- see this RIM/Best Buy release

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