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BlackBerry PlayBook 3G+ hits the UK

Research In Motion, the company behind the BlackBerry brand, has officially launched a new version of its PlayBook tablet with integrated 3G connectivity.

Designed to provide an internet connection in areas with no Wi-Fi coverage, the BlackBerry PlayBook 3G+ has some other tricks up its sleeve in addition to the network-neutral mobile broadband connectivity. The storage capacity has been boosted to 32GB as standard, up from 16GB in the previous generation, and the processor has been upgraded to a dual-core 1.5GHz chip from the original PlayBook's 1GHz model.

Beyond that, the device is largely unchanged. The display is the same 7in 1024x600 multi-touch capacitive model found in the original PlayBook and the memory remains at 1GB. Micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports are included, along with Wi-Fi connectivity for when you're within range of a hotspot.

The rear camera remains a five megapixel model, with a three megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing, and the tablet includes the same support for 1080p video recording. The in-built web browser supports both HTML5 and Adobe Flash content, and is able to play back H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, VP and WMV 9 video. A GPS receiver and digital compass provide the usual navigation features.

Sadly, RIM may have a struggle on its hands to convince consumers as to the merits of the PlayBook 3G+. In the US, the device has already been surpassed with a Long Term Evolution (LTE) version capable of supporting faster mobile broadband connections and the lack of a 64GB model - available, for some reason, in Wi-Fi only - means those who need to transfer lots of data will be left cold.

Worse still, the PlayBook 3G+ is priced at £420 SIM-free, making it just £30 cheaper than Apple's 3G-enabled iPad Mini - a far more popular device with a much broader software ecosystem.

More details on the BlackBerry PlayBook 3G+ are available at the official site.

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