BUSINESS
07/19/2011 01:20 EDT | Updated 09/18/2011 05:12 EDT

RIM Wi-Fi PlayBook Rumours Untrue, Company Says

AP File

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - BlackBerry maker Research In Motion said Tuesday that it has no plans to halt production on the wireless network version of its PlayBook tablet and has further rollouts planned for Southeast Asia, Western Europe an the Middle East in the coming weeks.

"Rumours suggesting that the Wi-Fi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued are pure fiction," Research In Motion said in a statement.

Shares in RIM were down slightly as the company as the Waterloo, Ont., company denied the rumour, suggested in an analyst's report and on a technology blog. The stock slipped 17 cents to $25.43 in noon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Wi-Fi PlayBook is cheaper for consumers because it doesn't need a monthly data plan from a wireless carrier and connects to the Internet via short-range public or home wireless networks.

RIM has also said it will release cellular versions of the PlayBook for various networks, including advanced, faster networks that can easily handle TV watching, video streaming and music listening. Consumers will have to pay for monthly data plans when they buy these PlayBooks.

But the PlayBook has faced a tough market after debuting with little fanfare in April.

The PlayBook received lukewarm reviews on the heels of the much-publicized launch of Apple's iPad 2 -- which flew off store shelves and has remained one of the hottest tech gadgets on the global market. Wi-Fi versions of the iPad are also extremely popular with consumers who don't want to pay for a monthly plan to operate it.

"Over the past month, the PlayBook has launched in 16 additional markets around the world and further rollouts are planned for Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East in the coming weeks," RIM said.