RIM attempts tablet re-entry with 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet

Sorry for the pessimism, folks, but RIM's hopes that the addition of LTE will bring the PlayBook tablet back from the dead are about as farfetched as the Easter bunny winning the U.S. election this year.

RIM has unveiled a 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, adding high-speed wireless data to its existing 7-inch QNX-powered tablet.

The ailing smartphone maker said the much-rumored tablet will debut in Canada on August 9, and will "be available in the coming months" in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

RIM describes the tablet as "enterprise ready," boasting that it can be managed using BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, while BlackBerry Balance allows the tablet to be used for both work and personal purposes.

Apart from the LTE updates, which will automatically connect to HSPA+ when LTE is not available, the new PlayBook is much the same as the old PlayBook. It features the same 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel touchscreen, an updated 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, the same 3 megapixel forward-facing camera and a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, and the exact same BlackBerry Tablet OS, developed by QNX.

The 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will come with 32GB of memory storage.

RIM has not disclosed a price for the 4G LTE PlayBook, and that could be a problem. The original PlayBook debuted at $499 for the 16GB model (32GB for $599 and 64GB for $699), but RIM was soon forced to offer a three for two deal before later slashing the price to $299.

However, despite lukewarm sales, this time last year the PlayBook remained one of the biggest tablet players outside of Apple's iPad. Since then, RIM's tablet has been eclipsed by the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung's Galaxy Tab and the Android 'Jelly Bean'-powered Nexus 7.

If RIM found the market tough back when it released the original PlayBook, the proliferation of $199 tablets have made things a lot tougher .

Oh, and there's that small matter of Apple having sold some 85 million iPads. But don't let that worry you too much, RIM. 

Given that RIM found it nigh on impossible to sell the original PlayBook -- or much else lately, if I am being completely honest -- I am left wondering what new secret sauce the company has planned for the update. I suspect that if RIM can't get the pricing right -- around the $350 mark -- then this update will sink into obscurity much like the original tablet did, LTE or not.

Image source: RIM