Ina Fried

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RIM Forced to Rewrite Its Playbook Again

With Sprint scrapping its plan for a WiMax version of the PlayBook tablet, Research In Motion is now pinning its 4G hopes on a different technology.

In the meantime, the shift means it will be even longer before RIM has a tablet capable of connecting to the Internet without Wi-Fi or a nearby BlackBerry.

RIM had been touting the forthcoming Sprint model as an answer to critics who noted the PlayBook was of limited use without a tethered BlackBerry.

“RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE,” the company said in a statement to AllThingsD. “We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the U.S. market together with our carrier partners.”

RIM didn’t say exactly when the LTE-equipped models will arrive, but it clearly will be later than the Sprint model would have been, had the carrier stuck to its original plan.

“Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already under way and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the U.S. and other international markets this fall,” RIM said.

Meanwhile, Apple’s iPad 2 is available for both AT&T and Verizon, with Android tablets already on Verizon’s 4G LTE network as well. HP has said it will soon have a TouchPad running on AT&T’s network.

It’s not the first challenge the company has had in getting carrier support for its tablet. AT&T initially blocked the Wi-Fi version of the PlayBook from connecting to a BlackBerry on its network, saying it needed more time to test the tethering software. In July, it said it was ready to allow such connections.

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