Analyst: RIM's PlayBook saw better first-day sales than Xoom, Galaxy Tab
Research In Motion's (NASDAQ: RIMM) BlackBerry PlayBook may have outperformed first-day sales of the Motorola Xoom and Samsung's Galaxy Tab, according to a research note from RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky.
Abramsky's team checked with 70 different retail outlets to figure out first-day sales figures. RBC also looked into Best Buy's online inventory tool to check on stocks of the Wi-Fi only PlayBook at another 180 locations across major U.S. cities. The PlayBook went on sale last week.
While the numbers are not indicative of eventual returns, it does provide a hint that RIM may have been correct when it adopted its strategy of targeting existing BlackBerry users first. Abramsky further stated that he expects the PlayBook to ship 500,000 units in its first fiscal quarter ending in May.
A number of reviews of the device have pointed out a range of shortcomings, mostly because the device is a first-generation product. In short, the PlayBook doesn't feature the basic BlackBerry capabilities: Its own email, contacts, calendar and personal information management (PIM). The Wi-Fi-only PlayBook has to be tethered with a BlackBerry smartphone to receive those basic features. RIM said it will update the device this year to support such functions, and in the meantime it is providing existing BlackBerry users a way to manage their email on the PlayBook via its BlackBerry Bridge application. However AT&T (NYSE: T) isn't supporting the feature yet, saying it needs to adequately test the feature.
Still, Abramsky believes some of those issues may be largely resolved through wireless updates and new 4G versions of the tablet that RIM is planning for later this year. Sprint (NYSE: S) is expected to sell a WiMAX version of the PlayBook this summer, while RIM is planning a version that can run on Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) LTE network along with HSPA+ versions for AT&T and T-Mobile.
Meanwhile, Verizon has yet to decide whether it will support the PlayBook. "We are still evaluating the Blackberry Playbook and have not made a determination as to whether or not we're going to distribute it," a Verizon spokeswoman told CNET.
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