RIM has announced that consumers can place orders through Best Buy for its PlayBook 7-inch tablet from today. Weighing less than a pound (425g) and measuring up at just 0.4-inch (10mm) thick, the Wi-Fi enabled device will come in three storage flavors, and is expected to be in stores in the U.S. on April 19.

RIM says that the BlackBerry PlayBook is the world's first professional-grade tablet, delivering "industry-leading" performance which includes multitasking capabilities, support for Adobe Flash 10.1, high definition multimedia, and out-of-the-box enterprise support. The device is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, for suggested retail prices of US$499, US$599 and US$699 respectively.

As you may have noticed, the pricing follows the same pattern for the Wi-Fi version of the bigger iPad 2. Is it worth waiting to see pricing information for the similarly-specced HTC Flyer, which is due to arrive shortly? Or perhaps the slightly bigger Optimus Pad/G-Slate from LG is more to your taste?

For those who can't wait to get their hands on RIM's highly-anticipated new baby, Best Buy is currently taking orders in the U.S. The company has revealed that the PlayBook will also be available from:

  • AT&T
  • Cbeyond
  • Cellular South
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • Office Depot
  • RadioShack
  • ShopBlackBerry.com
  • Staples
  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless, and
  • BlackBerry from Wireless Giant