A few recent FCC filings suggest RIM is finally almost ready to announce its 4G and HSPA+ cellular PlayBook tablets. With the annual BlackBerry World conference scheduled for early May, the show seems like an ideal place to launch the upgraded tablet models, which could also feature new, faster processors and support for NFC.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) said more than a year ago that it would release cellular versions of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with 4G LTE, HSPA+ and WiMax support—currently only Wi-Fi PlayBooks are available. Though it took the Canadian company long enough, cellular PlayBooks appear to be coming in the not too distant future.
A pile of FCC documents filed within the past month indicate HSPA+ and 4G LTE PlayBook were approved yesterday by the U.S. government agency and are on their ways to market. The frequencies supported by the two 4G LTE models suggest they’ll support both AT&T and Verizon’s 4G networks in the United States. And they’ll likely run RIM’s recently upgraded PlayBook 2.0 software–or perhaps they’ll run the new BlackBerry 10 OS.
Recent rumors suggest the new cellular PlayBooks will also pack 1.5GHz processors, compared to the dual-core 1GHz processors in the current, Wi-Fi-only PlayBooks, and support for Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. The FCC filings seem to confirm the presence of NFC, but make no mention of the new processor, at least that I see.
RIM is holding its eleventh annual BlackBerry World conference in early May in Orlando, and this seems like an ideal place for the company to announce the new cellular PlayBooks—and maybe even demo a new BlackBerry 10 handset. (And from the above FCC diagram you can also tell that the cellular tablets will have “camaras.” Thank goodness.)
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.