Apple may have caused BlackBerry PlayBook delay

BlackBerry Playbook

Anyone thinking about taking on Apple in the tablet wars, take heed: The release of Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was delayed for one month, likely because of high demand for the iPad 2.

According to DigiTimes, “PlayBook shipments were postponed for about a month from the original schedule due to a delay in software testing as well as shortage of touch panels because Apple already booked up most of the available capacity.”

With its massive $50 billion cash reserves, Apple is able to pre-order the components it needs for its popular devices, like the iPad and iPhone lines. Apple is said to have put down $3.9 billion to reserve a significant portion of the world’s touch screens in preparation for production of the new iPad.

This is only the latest round of bad news for companies hoping to compete with Apple’s iPad and iPad 2. Wednesday, news surfaced that Motorola sold a lower-than-expected 100,000 units of its new Xoom tablet, which is said to currently be the toughest competitor for the iPad 2. Apple, on the other hand, sold about 300,000 iPad 2 units in the first weekend alone, and is said to have sold roughly 2.6 million iPad 2 units in March.

Despite the hang-ups and the daunting task of taking on Apple, RIM will release the BlackBerry PlayBook on April 19 for $499 for the 16GB entry-level model. (The 32GB version costs $599; the 64GB model is priced at $699.) This is roughly equal to the cost of a comparable iPad 2.

With a 7-inch 1024×600 display, the PlayBook measures quite a bit smaller than the 9.7-inch iPad 2. The device comes loaded with a dual-core 1GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor and 1GB of RAM.

It has a 3MP forward-facing camera for video chat, as well as a 5MP rear-facing camera. The PlayBook can shoot 1080p high-definition video, and includes HDMI video output, and Micro USB and Micro HDMI ports. Unlike the iPad 2, the PlayBook supports Adobe Flash.

The three models available on April 19 are all Wi-Fi only. The company has far more up its sleeve, however, with higher-end models that will support 4G connectivity in all the different flavors the various wireless carriers currently offer. The iPad 2 only supports 3G connectivity.

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