During yesterday’s Q1 FY2013 earnings call, CEO Thorsten Heins reiterated that the 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook would soon be arriving to market. We heard the delay in its release was due to a hardware revision, but as Heins said, we can expect it ‘soon’. Could ‘soon’ be in a month, end of year, or early next year? Does a 4G PlayBook even matter at this point?
In the latest N4BB Audio Show we discussed how it may or may not be in RIM’s best interest. That is, if RIM has the hardware for the 4G PlayBook already completed, they might as well bring it to market, but only to select corporate accounts. If the 4G PlayBook hasn’t fully hit production, RIM should certainly scrap the project. This is assuming the 4G PlayBook will still only have the 1.5GHz processor and other similar hardware components as the WiFi-only model.
Why should RIM go back to the drawing board with the PlayBook’s specs? Google recently announced the Nexus 7 device, which is manufactured by ASUS. The Nexus 7 has a 7″ screen and sports a daunting 12 cores (4 for CPU, 8 for GPU). Additionally, Google has priced the Nexus 7 to an insanely competitive price point of $199 (essentially the ‘at cost’ of the tablet). While the PlayBook’s hardware was the best-in-class even just a few months ago, it has now been one upped.
To stay competitive, RIM would have to keep it’s current pricing, match similar hardware specs, and secure a content partnership (Amazon anyone?). Otherwise, I’m certain we’ll see another fire-sale of the 4G PlayBooks, as RIM ships them out and they collect dust on store shelves. Do you think RIM should still release a 4G PlayBook this year?