Sprint again delays BlackBerry tablet

Carrier says a new launch date will be communicated as soon as it's available.

Potential BlackBerry PlayBook customers apparently will have to wait a while longer before they can buy the tablet through Sprint.

RIM PlayBook RIM

In a document addressed to dealers and revealed this week by mobile-device blog BriefMobile, Sprint broke the news of another delay in offering Research In Motion's new tablet. This latest delay follows initially promised launch dates of April 19 and May 8, according to BriefMobile.

Announcing the delay, the document promises that a new launch date will be communicated as soon as it's available. It also advises dealers who've bought PlayBook display pedestals to hang onto them and to also keep the tablet's fact tags, which are used to describe a product.

But there seems to be some confusion over exactly which PlayBook model that Sprint is delaying.

The BriefMobile post mentions a CDMA version. However, in an e-mail to CNET, a Sprint representative said the company has not said it would offer a 3G CDMA version of the PlayBook and has instead been eyeing the Wi-Fi edition.

"It was recently announced that Sprint will be a retail channel for the Wi-Fi-based PlayBook, but an availability date was not announced by Sprint or RIM," the Sprint rep said in the e-mail. "Sprint and RIM did jointly announce at CES 2011 that a BlackBerry 4G PlayBook for the Sprint 4G network will be available this summer."

The Wi-Fi model has been available through retail outlets since its launch last month but not through the major carriers.

Regardless of the model, Sprint's delay is a setback for the PlayBook.

Verizon Wireless, which had initially appeared interested in carrying the tablet, at least according to RIM, recently revealed a certain lack of enthusiasm . In late April, a Verizon rep said simply that "we are still evaluating the Blackberry Playbook and have not made a determination as to whether or not we're going to distribute it."

Currently available only with Wi-Fi, a PlayBook 4G edition is supposed to jump onto Sprint's WiMax network this summer. RIM has also been planning 4G versions for Verizon Wireless's LTE network and the HSPA+ networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.

 

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