Sprint no longer plans to offer WiMAX BlackBerry PlayBook [UPDATED]Alex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
If you've been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the WiMAX-enabled BlackBerry PlayBook on Sprint, your wait has finally come to an end. No, the 4G tablet isn't available starting today; the reason that the wait is over is that Sprint has announced that it no longer plans to carry the device. Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, Sprint explained that the 4G PlayBook "[is] an interesting concept, it just hasn't caught on with business customers as much as they would like." Sprint also pointed to the ever-growing tablet market as a reason for the device's shelving, saying that the sheer number of slates available has created confusion among customers.
This news is definitely disappointing for both RIM and Sprint customers that have been waiting for the WiMAX PlayBook since its reveal in January. The PlayBook hasn't really been able to catch fire with consumers since its launch in mid-April, and although a version of the PlayBook with Sprint 4G likely may not have caused a sales explosion, the decision to give the WiMAX PlayBook the axe certainly isn't going to help the situation. RIM said earlier this year that the PlayBook would be coming in both HSPA+ and LTE varieties, but there's still no word on when or if those devices will be coming to market.
UPDATE: RIM has issued a statement saying that it's currently hard at work testing an LTE-enabled PlayBook and that it plans to get network certifications for that device this fall. The full statement from RIM:
"RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE. We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the US market together with our carrier partners. Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already underway and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the US and other international markets this fall."