BlackBerry sells 250,000 PlayBook tablets

Launched April 19, the PlayBook failed to make an initial impact as pre-launch reviews had described it as a 'half baked' product by RIM in an attempt to project it as a rival to Apple's iPad.

But in a research note sent to its clients, RBC Capital Markets - an investment bank of the top Royal Bank of Canada - says the PlayBook is on target to meet its sale target of half a million by the end of the current quarter.

Though nowhere near the iPad which sold 4.69 units in its last quarter, the note said the BlackBerry tablet was selling much better than Motorola's Xoom tablet which runs Android.

The recall of about 1,000 PlayBooks has reportedly not impacted its sales.
Analysts had initially predicted RIM to sell about 3.9 million PlayBooks in a tablet market which is estimated to reach 70 million units this year.

But new projections say RIM is expected to sell about 500,000 tablets in the current quarter, and only about two million in the entire year since its launch.

Apple's first-generation iPad sold over 15 million units last year and the iPad2 launched in March is even doing better.

RIM is targeting the PlayBook at its over 60 million BlackBerry subscribers as the Wi-Fi tablet will link with the BlackBerry smart phone through BlackBerry Bridge without the need to subscribe to a wireless carrier.

The seven-inch, Wi-Fi-only PlayBook comes in three models, featuring 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes of storage capacity, and in the price range of $499 to $699.

RIM has said that it will launch 3G and 4G versions that run on wireless networks later this year. The new versions will also offer Android as well as native email.

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