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RIM’s PlayBook Will Cost Less than $500

PlayBook, Research in Motion’s entry into the tablet market, will start selling in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2011 for under $500, RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie said in an interview in Seoul today.

The current leader of the tablet market, Apple’s iPad, sells in a price range of $499 to $829, depending on storage space and support for 3G data communication.

However, RIM’s BlackBerry-based tablet is quite a different beast from Apple’s iPad. It’ll have a smaller, 7-inch LCD touch screen, more RAM (1 GB versus the iPad’s 256 MB), HDMI video output and dual cameras. For a full list of specifications, see here.

Most importantly, RIM’s PlayBook will be aimed at the corporate market, while the iPad is primarily a consumer-oriented device. This feat, however, will be more dependant on the versatility and quality of applications available for PlayBook than its hardware.

Finally — and unlike Apple’s iPad — the PlayBook will support Flash, but there’s at least one serious competitor out there that does the same, the recently launched Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

What do you think? Does PlayBook have a chance to make ripples in the tablet market? Please share your opinion in the comments.

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