BlackBerry PlayBook demoResearch in Motion’s business-focused BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will retail for under $500, the company’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie revealed in an interview with Bloomberg.

The pricing move was to be expected. RIM’s 7-inch tablet is competing directly with the 9.7-inch $499 Apple iPad, and other tablets are aiming for a similar price range. Samsung’s 7-inch Galaxy Tab Android tablet is going on sale at Verizon stores for $599.99 tomorrow, and it’s available from T-Mobile and Sprint for $399.99 with a two-year contract.

RIM is aiming for a first-quarter 2011 release for the PlayBook, and by then it will have even more tablet competition. Apple’s second-generation iPad may be revealed by that point (potentially at a lower price), and we’re expecting to see Android tablets from the likes of LG, Motorola and Asus.

As we’ve written previously, the PlayBook has a 7-inch display, runs a WebKit browser (the same browser framework used on the iPhone and Android’s browser, not to mention RIM’s BlackBerry 6 OS), and it supports HTML5 and Adobe Flash. Under the hood, it sports a dual-core 1Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM. The Playbook has front (3-megapixel) and rear (5MP) cameras, both of which support high-definition video. The company is aiming big with an entirely new operating system for the tablet as well as some heavy integration with Adobe’s Flash and AIR technology.