Research in Motion (RIM) confirmed it will sell its eagerly anticipated Playbook tablet in North America in Q1 of next year for ‘under' $500.
RIM's co-CEO, Jim Balsillie promised the tablet will be ‘very competitively priced' and will be rolled out across the world in the second quarter of 2011, Business Week reported.
The pricing of the BlackBerry-like tablet will pit it directly against Apple's iPad which retails from $499. RIM was relatively quick to unveil a tablet of its own after Apple sold a staggering 3m iPads within 80 days of the tablet's launch in April.
However, unlike Apple's consumer-friendly, entertainment-based marketing, RIM intends to position itself as a good choice for business people as well as its ability to support Adobe Flash, which its Apple rival notably lacks.
A bullish Balsillie reportedly told the newspaper that Apple's current dominance of the tablet market, which was recently estimated to be around 95 percent, will "change when we're in the market".
However, Steve Jobs said last month that he does not see 7 inch tablets as a threat as they are too small for most tasks but larger than a smartphone, branding them ‘dead on arrival'.
In response to Jobs' comments, Balsillie hit back at Apple's controlling strategy, saying customers were tiring of the aggressive rhetoric.
RIM has a lot riding on its tablet as its smartphone loses ground with potential customers tempted by Android and Apple offerings. Its global market share reportedly dropped to 18 percent in Q2, while both Apple and Google's Android surged, according to IDC figures.
Balsillie reportedly said Playbooks could go on sale at US retailing giants Target and Best Buy, while South Korea will probably be the first country outside the US to get the tablet.
He told Business Week: "Korea's such a strategic market, because it's so big, so innovative. It's going to be one of the very, very first."