of reckoning for Research In Motion has arrived. The long-awaited BlackBerry
PlayBook tablet hits store shelves today in the United States and Canada.
reviews for the tablet -- which lacks a dedicated email, calendar, and contacts
app -- have
been quite lackluster. (Example: The New York Times' David
Pogue: "RIM has just shipped a BlackBerry product that cannot do email. It
must be skating season in hell.") The reviews have been so lukewarm that
RIM's co-CEO's went
on the defensive last week to try to stem the flow of bad press. They
know that the PlayBook might be the Canadian company's last chance to win
consumers over, before RIM follows Palm into the sunset.
Reuters reports that about 20,000
stores will stock the PlayBook, and that it will also be sold directly to
PlayBook is launching in a Wi-Fi-only version today. It is available at Best
Buy in 16GB, 32GB,
an 64GB versions,
which are priced at $499, $599, and $699 respectively. According to Reuters,
cellular-enabled PlayBooks are slated for mid-year.
Apple's iPad dominated 2010 by moving almost 15 million units, a poll by Reuters of
18 analysts predicts that RIM will move 3 million PlayBooks in the same time
period for 2011.
not going to be in the same league as the iPad," IDC Analyst Al Hilwa
told Reuters. "The question is will it sell more than the
[Motorola] Xoom but less than the [Samsung] Galaxy."