RIM launched their first tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook on April 19th. Six weeks later during their quarterly results is was announced they successfully sold about 500,000 units. RIM has pushed through several OS updates since its release, but early adopters of this tablet are still waiting for the native email client to appear. News today has once again targeted RIM, this time apparently the Waterloo-based company is thinking about scaling back or discontinuing the Wi-Fi version of the PlayBook. RIM has not confirmed the rumour, but RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky said the reduction could be because of the upcoming 3G/4G models and lower that expected sales.
“In our view WiFi PlayBook build reductions may: 1) reflect a pullback in production following global channel fill to 16 countries; 2) align channel inventory with slower than expected forecast sell-through; 3) accommodate a shift in production to the 3G/4G PlayBook (launches expected in 2-3 months); and 4) reflect expectations that 3G/4G PlayBook may outsell/cannibalize WiFi-only models (considering carrier alignment and customer/enterprise feedback). RIM also appears to be re-prioritizing its R&D from PlayBook to its QNX-based ‘superphones’ expected early 2012, considering its importance to stemming US share losses.”
RIM announced last week that they will be releasing 7 new smartphones by the end of the year. No word yet if the 3G/4G PlayBook will be coming to Canada.
Update: RIM just Tweeted that them discontinuing the Wi-Fi tablet is “Pure fiction. No plan to discontinue. In fact, WiFi PlayBook is launching in new countries practically every week.”
Update #2: RIM just sent us the following statement, “Rumors suggesting that the WiFi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued are pure fiction. 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.”