RIM today announced that its BlackBerry PlayBook (reviewed here) tablet PC will be available in the UK 'over the next 30 days'.

The company said that within the same time frame, in addition to the US the PlayBook will be released in the UK, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Australia, Venezuela, Spain, Germany, UAE, Singapore, Mexico, France, Italy, India, Indonesia and Colombia.

The announcement may have been prompted by HP's saying yesterday that its own TouchPad will be available in mid-July for £399. Like the HP TouchPad (reviewed here), the PlayBook is a device with its own operating system and apps, launching into an increasingly crowded market. The PlayBook is currently available to order from Best Buy for £399.

RIM describes the BlackBerry PlayBook as 'the world’s first professional-grade tablet', and despite its playful name is aiming it squarely at business users. The BlackBerry PlayBook is a 7in tablet that runs a bespoke operating system written specifically for the device. It’s a very pick-up-able 425g light and is both well-built and attractively styled.

The tablet market was moribund for many years until Apple released its Apple iPad and sold 15 million devices in the first year. But Apple already had many millions of Apple iPhone and - crucially - iTunes users. While the TouchPad with its webOS platform will go it alone with no such dedicated userbase, BlackBerry has the advantage of being the UK's most popular smartphone brand. With excellent backend support, the BlackBerry platform is also beloved of IT admins, so RIM will expect to make key wins in the enterprise.

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