RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was released as a WiFi-only device, requiring you to tether it to your phone’s connection to get online. While at the time RIM might have been thinking of the PlayBook as an accessory to go along with other BlackBerry gear, it seems the company has been reconsidering releasing a PlayBook with its own cellular modem, freeing it up from relying on any other hardware. We’ve heard about plans for such devices, most recently seeing an LTE-enabled PlayBook on a leaked RIM roadmap, supposedly targeted for a release sometime this month. As we await some kind of official word on just what we’ll be getting for the next PlayBook, a few pictures of a tablet labeled the 4G PlayBook have surfaced, showing off the new hardware.
The big hardware change we can see is the presence of new SIM tray, getting the tablet ready to go online by itself. For the moment, we don’t know if that means confirmation of LTE, of if this is just for HSPA+ “4G”.
Unfortunately, the source behind these images is a bit sketchy, coming into possession of a few of these 4G PlayBooks through what seem illicit channels; he also isn’t familiar with RIM products and has had difficulty on the CrackBerry forums following-up with inquiries about the device. What he has shared is that there’s finally BBM support, but other rumors, like a processor bump, remain unconfirmed.