Research in Motion (RIM) on Wednesday logged in to the fast-growing tablet market in India with ‘BlackBerry PlayBook' - pitting itself against rivals such as Apple's iPad, Dell's Streak and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The BlackBerry PlayBook – which has got mixed global reviews – will be available in India at a starting price of Rs 27,990.
The new tablet features Wi-Fi support and is available in 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models. It will initially be available across 1,000 retail stores in eight cities through distributors such as Redington India and Ingram Micro. Accessories for the BlackBerry PlayBook have already been made available in these stores.
“The BlackBerry PlayBook is a powerful and innovative product in the growing tablet marketplace. It's perfect for both large organisations and individuals, and it gives users an unmatched mobile experience,” said Ms Frenny Bawa, Managing Director – India, Research In Motion.
Customers who have a BlackBerry smartphone (running OS 5.0 or higher) will be able to connect it to the Playbook over Bluetooth by using a feature called BlackBerry Bridge. The connection allows the user to access their BlackBerry smartphone's email, address book, calendar, memo pad, task list, and browsing functionality using the large display on the tablet.
The tablet war has been heating up the Indian computing landscape, with major PC and handset makers lining up a slew of launches this year. Apple's rival, Dell had launched the ‘Streak' last year in India, and even Indian players such as Spice, Olive and HCL have launched similar devices at lower price points.
The $28-billion Chinese telecom major Huawei recently said it would introduce tablets in the country in the third quarter this financial year with price tags of sub-Rs 25,000 and sub-Rs 20,000.
Other companies such as HTC and Motorola also plan to introduce their tablet devices in the country soon.
According to estimates by Cyber Media Research, the India telecom products (mobile handsets) segment is slated to grow at a CAGR of 26.2 per cent between 2010-2014 to Rs 1,28,729 crore. It has further projected that over one lakh tablets will be shipped in 2011 alone, based on the current portfolio of players such as Samsung, Apple, Olive and others.