“We apologize for any inconvenience but the BlackBerry 4G PlayBook tablet that was announced in January for summer availability will no longer be coming to the Sprint network,” a Sprint spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “This was a mutual decision between Sprint and RIM.”
Sprint will still offer the Wi-Fi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the move is a blow to BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, which has had trouble trying to sustain consumer interest in the tablet. The release of the PlayBook tablet was supposed to show how RIM was innovating its product line, but instead the device received not-so-great reviews and sales have been slow.
RIM responded nonchalantly to questions we had about the long-term viability of the PlayBook without having strong carrier support, but it did say its focus is on LTE, which Sprint currently does not offer.
“RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE,” a RIM spokesperson told us in an email. “We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the US market together with our carrier partners.”
It should be noted that neither Verizon nor AT&T have confirmed if they will offer a 4G PlayBook, which leaves RIM with no announced partners.
Looking at the entire tablet market, the PlayBook is getting trounced by the Apple iPad and various Android tablets. Based on recent research, Android tablets have 20 percent of the tablet market worldwide while the iPad essentially owns the rest of the market share. One reason the PlayBook may be stumbling is the fact that it doesn’t have the depth of features or apps that Apple and Google’s tablets have.
Do you think the BlackBerry PlayBook will survive?