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RIM Announces 4G PlayBook Tablet

For the first time on Wednesday, Research in Motion (RIM) provided a hands-on demonstration of the PlayBook, a 7-inch touchscreen tablet that will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPad, when the Wi-Fi-only version ships in March.

RIM expects that tens of thousands of tablets will be sold to large companies right off the bat, according to its Vice President of Enterprise and Platform Marketing, Jeff McDowell.

RIM also announced that it had decided to partner with Sprint for its first high-speed wireless compatible tablet; because it has the most ubiquitous 4G network at this point in time.

The new PlayBook sports a fast dual-core processor, which loaded websites and applications fast and trouble-free during the demonstration. The device also proved to play Flash-based videos on the Internet with ease.

The device weighs in at 400 grams and is less than 10mm thick with a thin rubber coating.

The software on the PlayBook allows for multi-tasking and features a rotating carousel that shows all the programs running on the device. A simply swipe of a finger brings up the Home screen, while a swipe out closes programs.

Although there has been a lot of speculation on the batter life of the PlayBook, MacDowell said its battery will last as long as any other 7-inch tablet, if not longer. He was careful when not providing more detailed information.

MacDowell also added that the PlayBook will launch with a library featuring thousands of applications available for download.

When asked about screen sizes, he said that RIM is looking at different screen sizes for the PlayBook, but declined to comment any further.

No pricing information has been provided, but the company did mention earlier that the PlayBook will sell for less than $500.

Below is a video walk-through of the PlayBook:

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