Scarlett Johansson sues Disney Amazon's record $888M fine in Europe Simone Biles at Olympics: What's next? Team USA's Olympics face masks Suicide Squad review 4th stimulus check update

BlackBerry PlayBook could be well cheaper than the iPad

BlackBerry devices have a rep for being expensive, but RIM's co-boss has confirmed the company's new PlayBook tablet will be very reasonably priced.

Top-of-the-range BlackBerry phones usually come with a premium price tag, so part of us expected RIM's first tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, to be prohibitively expensive. We were pleasantly surprised to hear from the horse's mouth that it might in fact end up cheaper than the minimum-spec iPad.

RIM co-chief Jim Balsillie has announced that the 7-inch tablet will be priced under $500 in the US, in a recent report from Bloomberg. This compares very well with the US price of the iPad, which starts at $499 and goes up to as much as $829.

Over here, $499 converts to about £311, which sounds very good indeed. That said, the UK price of a minimum-spec iPad is £429, so the BlackBerry PlayBook will probably undergo a similar mark-up.

RIM has come up with a completely new OS for the PlayBook, which carries a 1,024x600-pixel capacitive LCD touchscreen with full multi-touch and gesture support. It'll offer a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, as well as two cameras -- a 3-megapixel on the front and a 5-megapixel on the rear. There's also a big focus on Flash, with the tablet able to run AIR apps and Flash 10.1.

The BlackBerry PlayBook needs to be competitively priced, because the steady stream of tablets we're starting to see now is bound to turn into a torrent by next year. We'll probably have Android 2.3 or 3.0 tablets by the time the PlayBook is released, as well as a souped-up Samsung Galaxy Tab. The iPad 2 may also be on the market, possibly with the iPhone 4-style retina display and a front-facing camera for a little FaceTime fun.

It's an important time for RIM. Its smart phones are still successful, but rivals like Android and Apple are quickly catching up. The BlackBerry 6 OS doesn't look like it can compete with Android and iOS, which means RIM is under pressure to come up with something seriously game-changing. Hang on for the ride!