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Research in Motion has unveiled the official pricing and release information for the upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. It will ship in the US and Canada on April 19th, with prices starting at $499:

  • $499 for a 16GB model
  • $599 for a 32GB model
  • $699 for a 64GB model

The PlayBook will be available from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, Radio Shack, and the Future Shop among other retailers. The tablet features a 1 GHz dual core Texas Instruments OMAP 4430 processor, a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel capacitive touchscreen display, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, front and rear cameras, and a range of sensors including GPS, accelerometer, 6-axis gyroscope, and a digital compass.

There’s an HDMI output and the tablet can handle 1080p HD video playback with support for H.264, MPEG4, and WMV video. The PlayBook measures 5.1″ x 7.6″ x 0.4″ and weighs 0.9 pounds.

The BlackBerry Playbook operating system is based on QNX software and it features some pretty impressive multitasking capabilities. What we don’t know yet is whether there’s any truth to the rumors that the PlayBook will be able to run Android apps. Right now the number of apps available for the PlayBook is rather limited, since the tablet can’t run standard BlackBerry apps.

While the tablet will be offered by wireless carriers in the US and Canada, there won’t be 3G or 4G models available. Instead RIM is pitching the PlayBook as a standalone tablet or a device that you can pair with a BlackBerry smartphone to share a mobile broadband connection.Eventually the company is also expected to offer 4G capable versions of the tablet.

While the BlackBerry PlayBook won’t be available until April 19th, the 16GB model is already up for pre-order from Best Buy for $499.99.

You can check out my hands-on video with the PlayBook from CES after the break.

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