BlackBerry maker debuts new PlayBook tablet

By Dan Gallagher

MarketWatch (MCT)

SAN FRANCISCO – Research In Motion Ltd. lifted the wraps Monday on a new touch-screen tablet device called the BlackBerry PlayBook, making it the latest wireless device maker to break into the new market.

At its annual DevCon conference in San Francisco, RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis billed the PlayBook as “the first enterprise-ready tablet.” He said the tablet is designed to “amplify” the experience of the company’s BlackBerry smart phones, which can pair with the tablet through a Bluetooth connection.

“This will enable a new world of computing that you can hold in the palm of your hand,” Lazaridis said during a keynote address Monday afternoon. No price was given for the device.

RIM said it expects to launch the PlayBook in the U.S. sometime in early 2011, while other markets are expected to be added during the second calendar quarter.

RIM was widely expected to announce a tablet after a leak in the Wall Street Journal last week. The tablet market is currently ruled by the iPad from Apple Inc. More than 3.3 million iPads were sold in the June quarter following its launch in early April.

Other PC and electronics makers such as Dell, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard and Asus have announced tablet devices.