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BlackBerry PlayBook 4G pictured, has BBM

A next generation BlackBerry PlayBook has made an appearance online, and it's packing BBM as standard.

If you thought the PlayBook was dead, think again. A 4G variant has shown up on the CrackBerry forums, so it looks like the troubled RIM is getting ready to have another go with its ill-fated tablet.

The original PlayBook didn't have a 3G version, so you needed to tether it to your handset for a lot of the features to work. Adding 4G would leapfrog a lot of the old issues, but the question remains: will anyone buy it?

News broke of a new PlayBook back in January, though it was expected to be 3G rather than 4G. It's not known at the moment whether it's LTE, or HSPA+. It won't make much difference to us Brits though, as we're not expected to have active 4G networks in the UK for a while yet. Hence the collective shrug over the new iPad being 4G. In the pictures the SIM tray is clearly visible, and the device bears the legend "BlackBerry 4G PlayBook" down the side.

BBM is also expected to come natively installed on the next PlayBook. This is the instant messenging app that's big with teenagers, and that went down last autumn, infuriating BlackBerry owners. BBM has so far been conspicuous by its absence from the PlayBook.

There are no concrete details on the other specs, such as a bumped up 1.5GHz processor, so we'll have to wait for an official announcement. But RIM is holding its annual get together for developers in May, so we might hear something then.

RIM has had a rough ride over the last year. It parachuted in a new boss in January, then decided to focus on the business side of things. And yesterday it confirmed two top executives are leaving the company. You want our advice RIM? Find it here.

What do you make of a 4G PlayBook? Is it what RIM needs to start its comeback? Or is it like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.