Tuesday, January 25, 2011

RIM Playbook 4G Could Be Rare In Canada

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At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, and just about everywhere else RIM has showed it, the Playbook RIM's answer to Apple's iPad is a surprise hit.  The Playbook launches from their position as a maker of smartphones that have traditionally appealed to the corporate world into a company that makes general consumer electronics. Just like the iPad the entry level model will get online through WiFi only, but unlike Apple's high end iPad with 3G connectivity, RIM's upper end Playbook can get online there's a 4G connection through Sprint's WiMax network.

For the vast majority of potential users who do not yet have access to any 4G service the Playbook can be WiFi tethered to Blackberry smartphone or a MiFi personal hotspot to access 3G service.  A rather cumbersome work around to get connected outside the limited areas covered by 4G service.  

For those in the Great White North looking to get a Playbook, it's already looking like it will be a better idea to save your pennies and go with the WiFi only model.  WiMax service only available in popular cottaging areas North of Toronto, and some ski resorts in Alberta and BC.  WiMax provider Inukshuk Wireless, a partnership between Rogers & Bell hasn't built out into most densely populated areas, owing any WiMax device may make any buyer regret spending the money very quickly.

Now that Rogers and Bell have stated intentions of building LTE networks, the makes any expansion of Inukshuk unlikely at best.  That will mean that waiting for a future Playbook with onboard 3G or LTE support for those Canadians, especially those in Manitoba (MTS) and Saskatchewan (Sasktel) who will not be getting WiMax at all, who don't wish to be bothered with tethering with a Blackberry.

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