Playbook is ready for game time on April 19

Research in Motion’s Blackberry Playbook, a business-oriented answer to the iPad, will go on sale April 19.

Mark that down in your calendars as a historic date because that will either be the beginning of the end for Blackberry, or it will be the beginning of a legendary comeback for the company that has lost double-digit market share in the world of smartphones over the past year.

The Playbook is now available for pre-order at Best Buy with a variety of models and pricing available:

16 GB – $499

32 GB – $599

64 GB – $699

As far as pricing goes, that’s pretty much right on par with others in the market. With its 7-inch display and 1080p video playbook, it’s nothing extraordinary.

The release date announcement came during this week’s CTIA Wireless convention in Orlando, where Samsung also just announced two new Galaxy Tab tablets.

And when you combine that with the existing products on the market like the iPad 2 and Xoom, and the previously announced tablets like LG’s glasses-free device, the Playbook isn’t exactly coming in here on the ground level anymore. It is beginning to be a very red ocean, one that will draw blood from unsuspecting competitors.

Will the Playbook find its niche as the device to appeal to business customers, or will this be another death knell for the company that has already faced such hardship in the mobile sector?

These questions won’t be answered any time soon, but they’ll start to unfold on April 19.