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(Reuters) –
Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry smartphone, will release its
PlayBook tablet computer on two more high-speed network standards in
the second half of 2011, the company said on Monday.

The move to offer LTE and HSPA+
versions of its PlayBook guarantees access the most advanced wireless
data networks in the world, including all major carriers in North
America.

The first version of the
PlayBook, with WiFi and Bluetooth but no cellular connection, is set for
launch in March and U.S. carrier Sprint Nextel will sell a version for
its WiMAX network in the summer.

The
WiFi-only version can connect to a user’s existing BlackBerry
smartphone to access its data and use its wireless connection, but that
may give carriers little incentive to subsidize or advertise the
PlayBook aggressively.

Evolved High
Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) is used by AT&T and T-Mobile in the
United States and Rogers, BCE Inc and Telus in Canada. Long Term
Evolution (LTE) is an all-IP standard that Verizon Wireless, among
others, has started to deploy.

Both
standards are designed to carry the increased amount of data needed for
video streaming and large file downloads at improved speeds.

RIM
also said on Monday it has bought Seattle-based business social
networking company Gist for an undisclosed sum, as it seeks to bolster
its position versus Apple, Google’s Android, and the newly announced
combination of Nokia and Microsoft in the fiercely competitive mobile
telecoms market.

RIM also said its
App World online store is now available in 27 more countries for a total
of 101 and now has more than 20,000 applications on offer.

The
Waterloo, Ontario-based company has struggled to compete with the
consumer-focused app offerings of Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android
Marketplace.

Shares in RIM, which
announced the PlayBook in late September, have jumped almost 50 percent
since early that month. They were down 1.1 percent at C$65.16 on Monday
afternoon.