RIM to sell 4G BlackBerry PlayBook tablet through Sprint

LAS VEGAS--Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) announced it will sell a version of its forthcoming 7-inch PlayBook tablet for Sprint Nextel's (NYSE:S) 4G network, a device the companies said will go on sale sometime this summer.

RIM BlackBerry 4g playbook tablet sprint clearwireRIM unveiled a WiFi-only version of its PlayBook tablet last year, and said the gadget will go on sale in early 2011. RIM's PlayBook runs the QNX operating system, which the company has said it will eventually migrate to its BlackBerry smartphones. BlackBerry developers will not be able to migrate their applications to the PlayBook without extra coding, a RIM product manager told the Globe and Mail.

Although neither RIM nor Sprint provided specifics, the PlayBook for Sprint likely will support WiMAX network technology. Sprint resells Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) WiMAX services under the Sprint 4G brand, and currently offers two WiMAX-capable smartphones, the HTC Evo and the Samsung Epic (the HTC Shift Evo also is in the pipeline).

RIM said the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook for Sprint will feature 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.

"Additional details and pricing will be released closer to launch," the companies said.

Sprint joins Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA in making tablet news here at the Consumer Electronics Show. Verizon plans to sell Motorola's (NYSE:MOT) Xoom Android 3.0 tablet, while T-Mobile plans to sell LG's G-Slate Android 3.0 tablet.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Globe and Mail article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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