It runs BlackBerry software and can connect to a phone, acting as a bigger screen for it. Research In Motion Ltd. calls it the first "professional-grade tablet."
The iPad 2, which went on sale earlier this month, also starts at $499. The $499 PlayBook comes with 16 gigabytes of memory. For $599, you get 32 gigabytes and for $699, 64 gigabytes.
RIM reports fiscal fourth-quarter earnings Thursday.