WebMania: RIM debuts BlackBerry PlayBook tablet
Bill Hutchison, CTV News
Published Sunday, April 24, 2011 3:50PM EDT
When the BlackBerry PlayBook was launched last Tuesday, many critics said it hit the shelves prematurely, without having all of its bugs worked out.
But before discounting Waterloo's pride, it's best remembered that RIM has the benefits of a large and loyal user base that puts security first.
Although the biggest lineup for the PlayBook only had 10 customers, and despite early negative feedback with "lukewarm" reviews, the new tablet actually sold better than expected on day one.
So what's the difference between the short PlayBook lines and the long ones witnessed during the recent launch of the iPad 2?
Duncan Stewart, a representative of Deloitte Canada, said the device's much higher level of "virtually military grade security" will be a big driver for some corporations.
Many analysts, including Stewart, say that while there will be consumers placing PlayBook orders; the principal target are businesses using BlackBerry smartphones.
Stewart said that many of Deloitte's customers are asking if they should go with the iPad, the PlayBook or an Android-based tablet.
"The ones who are more security conscious have been saying we're going to end up going with the PlayBook. It's not the whole market, but it is an important market," said Stewart.
According to a report from RBC Capital Markets, RIM is on track and projected to sell 500,000 tablets in the first three months.
Ryan Biden, the PlayBook's project manager, said that security for the tablet is a key focus.
"From a security standpoint, what's really cool about it is when the Bluetooth connection is broken; none of the information stays on your PlayBook. So it's really like you have big screen access to all the content and all the security that's there on your BlackBerry," said Biden.
He said that RIM is looking ahead in terms of web connectivity, countering criticism the PlayBook lacks many corporate must-haves, such as standalone email access and 3G wireless data connectivity
"Obviously we've got 4G and advanced connectivity versions coming, because we do know that people actually do want to do that as well." said Biden.
While the PlayBook's first day sales of 50,000 units pales in comparison to the iPad's, RIM's numbers are stronger than first-day sales of Motorola's Xoom and Samsung's Galaxy Tab.
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