Blackberry launches Playbook in India

Blackberry launches Playbook in India

The Canadian firm has launched the PlayBook in India at Rs 27,990 (16 GB), Rs 32,990 (32GB) and Rs 37,990 (64 GB).

Globally, PlayBook is available at USD 499, USD 599 and USD 699 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively.

The PlayBook is a seven-inch tablet that runs on a new operating system built by QNX Software Systems -- a RIM unit that makes software, which is used to run everything from cars to nuclear reactors.

On a PlayBook, users can go online only using a Wi-Fi network or by synchronising the device to their BlackBerry smartphones.

Apart from India, the PlayBook is scheduled to be launched in 15 countries, including the UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and UAE over the next few weeks.

The competition for "tablets" is hotting up in India with handset maker queuing up launches of their smart devices. A tablet PC, though smaller sized, has PC-like functionalities.

Since the launch of Apple's iPad, the tablet market is witnessing huge competition, with new contenders launching their devices.

"There are a lot of tablets being launched in India. The market is still niche but is growing at a rapid pace. The launch of PlayBook should not impact the sales of other tabs but will help grow the ecosystem," Gartner Principal Research Analyst Vishal Tripathi said.
Apple's rival in the computing space, Dell had launched the 'Streak' last year in India, while homegrown telecom handset makers like Spice and Olive have also launched similar devices at much lower price points.

Other companies like HTC and Motorola also plan to introduce their tablet devices in the country soon.

The BlackBerry tablet has received a mixed response from the markets where it has been launched. According to reports, while rival iPad sold like hot cakes on its launch, the PlayBook just sold 50,000 copies in the first week of its launch on April 19 in the US and Canada.

BlackBerry has over one million users in India and RIM would target them.

According to analysts, sales in the tablet PC segment in India are expected to touch one million units over the next 12 months. With 3G (high-speed internet services) being rolled out aggressively, the opportunity has only expanded, they said.

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