RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook now has a Bluetooth-supported mini keyboard, in another attempt by the company to spur interest in the tablet.
Motion has introduced a keyboard that connects to its PlayBook tablet via
BlueTooth. Known as the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard, the $119 accessory includes
128-bit encryption and up to 30 days battery life on a single charge.
comes just as a new Federal Communications Commission document revealed a
version of the PlayBook with either Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) or
4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) support. This version of the tablet has been
tipped previously to be coming with an upgraded series of specs such as near-field
communication (NFC) and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor under the hood, noted Slashgear
March 14. This device (or both versions of the device,
rather), has been leaked previously via a RIM road map which noted the device
to be scheduled for mid-2012.
RIM pushed out
its long-awaited PlayBook software upgrade Feb. 21. PlayBook OS 2.0 includes a
number of features demanded by users ever since the 7-inch tablet made its
debut in April 2011. These include built-in email, calendar and contacts; a
variety of new apps; and social-networking integration with calendar and
Bridge app, which lets users tether a BlackBerry smartphone to their
PlayBookthe better to view things on the latters larger screenhad likewise
been updated, with a BlackBerry able to act as a wireless keyboard and mouse
for the PlayBook.
advancements come despite anemic sales for the PlayBook. In December, RIM
announced it would take a $485 million charge against its PlayBook inventory,
or $360 million after applicable taxes. In a Dec. 2 statement, RIM cited
competitive dynamics of the market and the delay of the PlayBook OS 2.0
upgrade as reasons behind the write-down.
the PlayBook continues to play a vital role in RIMs current strategy. The
tablets operating system is based on QNX, which the Canadian device maker acquired
in 2010. Later this year, in a bid to reassert its position within the
smartphone market, RIM plans on releasing a line of so-called super phones
running the QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system.
sizable apps ecosystem for those BlackBerry 10 devices, RIM executives have
been encouraging third-party developers to build apps for the PlayBook, with an
eye toward porting those wares to the smartphone platform once it finally hits
meantime, they almost certainly hope that a physical keyboardalong with some
software tweakswill increase consumer and business interest in the PlayBook.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter