Research In Motion Ltd. on Tuesday said its tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook, will start selling in the U.S. and Canada on April 19 for $499 to $699.
RIM said that customers can start pre-ordering the gadget _ its answer to Apple Inc.'s popular iPad devices _ through Best Buy. The PlayBook has a 7-inch screen, smaller than the iPad.
It runs BlackBerry software and can connect to a BlackBerry, acting as a bigger screen for it. RIM calls it the first "professional-grade tablet."
The iPad 2, which went on sale earlier this month, also starts at $499. The $499 PlayBook comes with 16 gigabytes of memory. For $599, you get 32 gigabytes and for $699, 64 gigabytes.
AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless stores will also sell the Wi-Fi version of the PlayBook. This summer, Sprint plans to sell a version with a built-in access to Clearwire Corp.'s wireless broadband network.
RIM reports fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday.