BlackBerry launches PlayBook tablet at $499

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Research In Motion Ltd. said it will sell its PlayBook tablet in North America next month starting at $499, ending months of speculation over the timing of the release.

The PlayBook joins a handful of new tablets already on the market and will be the latest rival to sector leader, Apple Inc.’s iPad. Three models of the PlayBook will be available in more than 20,000 retail outlets, RIM said. Best Buy Co., one of the PlayBook retailers, will begin accepting orders for the new product Tuesday.

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