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BlackBerry PlayBook To Come in all 4G Flavors

Research In Motion announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that its upcoming tablet PC, the PlayBook, will be be able to use cellular networks on HSPA+ and LTE standards, according to tech blog IntoMobile.

The launch of the PlayBook, expected by the end of March or early April, is slated to be a Wi-Fi only device perhaps with connectivity to a 3G network when tethered to a BlackBerry smart phone. As of yet, the only network that the PlayBook had been slated for was the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax), what Sprint calls 4G, for sometime this summer.

The ability of the PlayBook to run on High Speed Packet Access-plus (HSPA+) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) standards will allow the device to be spread across the advanced networks of most carriers in the United States.

T-Mobile and AT&T both have rolled out HSPA+ to their networks and have been marketing it as 4G even if the network speeds fall well short of what the International Telecommunications Union calls 4G. AT&T and Verizon are aggressively moving to LTE and should have nationwide penetration of the standard by mid-2012, if not sooner. That means that the PlayBook will be connected to every network that a carrier calls 4G by the end of the year.

RIM did not announce the schedule for the launch of the HSPA+ and LTE PlayBooks but sometime by late summer or early fall would make sense. The company did not specify which carriers would carry the PlayBook, though it would make sense for both Verizon and AT&T to make it available.

There has been no word from RIM about any 3G network connectivity, so it is presumable that anyone living in areas without 4G will have to tether the device to a BlackBerry smart phone.

About the Author

Dan Rowinski is a staff reporter covering communications technologies.

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