BlackBerry PlayBook: Another 4G tablet we can't take advantage of...

Research in Motion (RIM) today unveiled an updated version of its tablet device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, with one major selling feature – its 4G compatibility.

The new tablet will go on sale first in Canada on 9th August before being shipped into other markets over the coming months.

Their first tablet wasn’t hugely well received, with miniscule sales figures and issues surrounding the first operating system, but I’m always keen to see new efforts. That is until I’m told the focus of the upgraded device is its 4G capabilities.

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 19:  Blackberry Playbook t...

CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 19: Blackberry Playbook tablets are offered for sale at a Best Buy store on April 19, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The tablets, made by Research In Motion, went on sale today in the United States and Canada. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

I don’t blame RIM. Many countries around the world want their tablets to work with Long Term Evolution (LTE) to speed up the data traffic going to and from their devices, so it makes sense to include it in the latest version.

What infuriates me is that despite living in the land that brought you the World Wide Web, the television, even the corkscrew, I still cannot get my handson a fast cellular network.

The continual dragging of feet by our regulators and governments on distributing the spectrum for mobile operators to establish 4G networks – the auction has only just been announced and still won’t take place until 2013 – means we are still at least a year away for the first roll-outs in the UK.

That is if the operators themselves don’t kick off about some unfair advantage one of its rivals will get along the way, pushing the fight through courts of law and public opinion, and pushing the timeline for deployment back even further.

Yes, when we get 4G networks, I want them to be done right, but when mobile manufacturers are building the capabilities into their devices and selling them before we have even agreed a date for a spectrum auction – look at the new iPad – it make me furious.

The debate this week in the Houses of Parliament have been about getting the broadband network right and, again, that is likely to face more delays, giving us no hope of having the best connections in Europe by 2015.  But at least a date was set on this and there has been a certain amount of drive by industry and government alike to hit the goal.

We need a goal for 4G. Regulators and operators need to speed the process up, stop arguing and think of the public.

They need to get the networks set up across the country so, if we choose to spend several hundred pounds on the new BlackBerry PlayBook, we can use it to the best of its abilities.

They need to do this, not months or years down the line, but now. 

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