April 19, 2011

RIM’s PlayBook Tablet Launches With Slim Crowds

Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet computer launched on Tuesday with a slimmer crowd than what its competitor Apple saw on the day of its iPad 2 release.

Just three PlayBooks were sold in the 20 minutes after an Office Depot in Midtown New York was opened.

"It's going to be a tough sell to the consumer," BGC Partner analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters. 

"It's going to be right next to an iPad at the same price point. The iPad is going to look much bigger, it has an entire ecosystem around it."

The PlayBook starts at $499 for a 16-gigabyte version and then ends at $699 for a 64-gigabyte version.

The tablet device supports Adobe Flash, Adobe AIR, and HTML 5.  It also has a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1 GB of RAM.

The PlayBook features a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1024 by 600.

Apple launched its iPad 2 on March 22 and consumers lined up overnight for a first glimpse of the gadget.

RIM has struggled to compete since Apple's iPhone and a slew of devices running Google's Android entered the smart phone market.

Early reviews of the PlayBook criticized the tablet for lacking email and organizer applications, and AT&T said that it will not support the BlackBerry Bridge function that allows the device to mirror a BlackBerry smartphone.

About 20,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada started carrying the PlayBook on Tuesday.

According to a report by Reuters, RIM is expected to sell 3 million PlayBooks in 2011.

"It's not going to be in the same league as the iPad," said Al Hilwa, a Seattle-based analyst at IDC. "The question is will it sell more than the Xoom but less than the Galaxy," he told Reuters, referring to Android-based tablets from Motorola Mobility and Samsung.


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