Apr, 19 2011

The big tablet news of the day is no doubt the launch of the BlackBerry Playbook in the US and Canada, RIM’s first entry into the modern era of slate-style mobile devices. It employs an updated version of the BlackBerry OS that can easily run Android applications, among other things, but it still faces an uphill battle in a market saturated by the iPad and numerous Android tablets. Likewise, the poster child of Android Honeycomb, the Motorola XOOM, is continuing on its path to worldwide domination. Today marks the availability of the XOOM at Canada’s TELUS. Its $599.99 price tag matches the cost of the 32GB version of the PlayBook, though BlackBerry also offers 16GB and 64GB versions priced at $499 and $699 respectively.

Moving outside of North America, where the PlayBook is not yet available, Motorola and Australian carrier Telstra have announced their intention to launch to XOOM next month. Specific details on pricing and exact availability were not revealed. This will be another 3G, contract-priced version of the XOOM from the looks of it.

So which tablet comes out on top in the long run? Both enter the ring with the backing of an established hardware manufacturer and thriving operating system, but both also face the similar hurdle of knocking the iPad from its thrown. As has been evidenced, the XOOM is struggling early on to capture a foothold, but with Android already establishing itself as a tablet force the PlayBook’s run might be tougher still.


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