Friday, October 14, 2011

BlackBerry PlayBook Seven Inch Tablet Selling For Same Price

You do have to wonder where some analysts get their data from. Just yesterday market researcher IDC declared that the BlackBerry PlayBook accounted for 4.9 percent of a Q2 tablet market that shifted around 13.6 million units in total, putting the PlayBook figure at at around 680,000.

A few hours later RIM announced its results for the quarter ending 27 August, in which it revealed only 200,000 PlayBooks had been sold in the quarter. IDC wasn't as far off as these figures initially imply, as it was covering the calendar Q2 - i.e. April-June - and RIM said it shifted 500,000 PlayBooks in the quarter ending 28 May. But that figure still seems around 100,000 too high, a mistake that could have been averted by merely waiting a day.

IDC probably, quite reasonably, figured RIM would flog more than 200,000 of its heavily-promoted tablets in the first full quarter of selling them but, after some initial enthusiasm, sales seem to have fallen off a cliff.

We don't find this too surprising. Initial reviews were not great, with the need to umbilically attach the PlayBook to a BlackBerry phone in order to enable much of the functionality being especially derided. Furthermore you had an unproven seven inch tablet selling for the same price as the equivalent ten inch iPad. Unlike HP, RIM will probably persist with its flagging tablet, but we wouldn't be surprised to see some price-cuts soon.

This failure contributed to overall results that fell short of already pessimistic expectations. RIM managed revenues of $4.2 billion, $300,000 lower than anticipated. This combined with some one-off costs to deliver profit of $329 million, which was less than half of the same period a year ago. Investors were not happy, and RIM's shares were down 20 percent in pre-market trading at time of writing.

"We successfully launched a range of BlackBerry 7 smartphones around the world during the latter part of the second quarter and we are seeing strong sell-through and customer interest for these new products. Overall unit shipments in the quarter were slightly below our forecast due to lower than expected demand for older models," said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at RIM.

"We will continue to build on the success of the BlackBerry 7 launch to drive the business as we focus our development efforts on delivering the next generation, QNX-based mobile platform next year."

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