According to RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky, RIM has sold about 250,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets since its release on April 19th, and sales have remained steady.
RIM’s PlayBook is selling slightly faster than its counterpart, the Motorola Xoom, which sold 250,000 tablets in two months. However, both companies are far, far behind Apple’s tablet sales, which reach over a million per month. Apple sold 4.7 million iPads in the March quarter alone.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is a solid device with a smooth user interface, but it lacks the appeal of the iPad, mainly in the app department. While the Playbook can run Android applications, there are only around 3,000 apps made especially for it. The Apple App Store has tens of thousands of apps available for the iPad. It’s popular among BlackBerry users, but may fail to reach a wider market because of restrictions with the email and calendar functions – they don’t work without a BlackBerry and Bluetooth.
Another thing holding back PlayBook sales is the requirement that it be tethered to a users Blackberry phone, greatly reducing the pool of potential customers. In initial reviews, The PlayBook was knocked for shipping without a built-in calendar, address book, or e-mail app. Users must have a Blackberry phone and then pull this information via Bluetooth using RIM’s Blackberry Bridge app to access it on the PlayBook tablet, certainly not the most elegant solution. RIM has promised that native version of these apps will make it to the PlayBook in a future software release.
If the current sales trends continue, RIM can expect to sell approximately 500,000 units during its first fiscal quarter, and 2 million units over the course of the year. This is below RBC’s current projection of 3 million units this year, but still a promising figure in comparison to other Android tablets.