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RIM PlayBook: LTE & HSPA+ Versions Coming

BlackBerry launched its first tablet, the PlayBook, with Wi-Fi onboard, but is working on versions to cater to faster 3G and 4G fiends, too.

The BlackBerry maker unveiled the $499 tablet at a glitzy launch event in New York City on Thursday evening. Various company spokespeople said that although the device is launching as a Wi-Fi-only device, more mobility options will follow.

First up, the PlayBook will launch on Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s WiMax network this summer. RIM representatives said that Long Term Evolution (LTE) and High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) versions will follow, although no dates for the these launches are available.

Click below for some images from the launch:

Behold the PlayBook

Both of RIM's co-CEOs were on hand to promote their new tablet. RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie held court with reporters for much of the night, defending the PlayBook against lackluster reviews, promising an email client soon and positioning the tablet against its Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Android rivals.

Balsillie told LR Mobile that SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) is working on "dashboard apps" for the PlayBook, a move that will likely please the company's core enterprise audience. Business customers, Balsillie pointed out, can already securely tunnel back to their corporate intranet using the tablet.

RIM's other CEO Mike Lazaridis, meanwhile, was clearly enthused with his new "baby," working the room with PlayBook in hand to promote the features of the new device. He particularly liked the on-board cameras, showing reporters some of the snaps he had taken with the device.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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