RIM targets sub-$500 price for PlayBook slate

Let the slate price war begin! According to Bloomberg, Research In Motion has revealed that its seven-inch PlayBook slate will hit the streets next quarter with a price tag "under" $500. Jim Balsillie, the company's co-CEO, is also quoted as saying the device will be "very competitively priced."

In case you missed our coverage of RIM's late September announcement, the PlayBook looks like one of the better iPad competitors out there yet. The 7" screen might feel a little cramped next to the iPad's 9.7" display, of course, but the PlayBook is lighter, packs a dual-core CPU, and has a specially crafted operating system with multitasking and Flash support. The iPad still doesn't have multitasking and will only get it once iOS 4.2 rolls out later this month. (Of course, Steve Jobs has put the kibosh on Flash support in iOS's browser.)

Admittedly, "under" $500 can mean many things. RIM could technically be teasing a $499.99 price tag, which would put the PlayBook and iPad at parity. That said, I would think RIM realizes it may need to aim lower to divert sales from Apple's latest gadget, especially since it has a smaller device and a new, unproven platform without iOS's monumental app repertoire.

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