No frenzy crowds to buy BlackBerry tablet on launch

April 19th, 2011 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, April 19 (IANS) BlackBerry maker Research In Motion’s PlayBook tablet, launched in Canada and the US Tuesday, received a lukewarm response.

Unlike frenzied crowds which lined up before Apple stores last year before the launch of the iPad, there was no rush to buy the BlackBerry tablet at major outlets here such as Best Buy and Future Shop just after its launch Tuesday morning.

Some stores opened early in downtown Toronto to sell RIM’s first non-smart phone product.

Though they claimed to have received substantial numbers of pre-orders for the PlayBook, the frenzy was missing.

So-so pre-launch reviews have described the PlayBook as ‘half baked’ and RIM’s attempt to catch up with Apple.

Analysts have predicted RIM to sell about 3.9 million PlayBooks in a tablet market which is estimated to reach 70 million units this year.

Apple’s first-generation iPad sold over 15 million units last year and the iPad2 launched in March is doing even better.

RIM is targeting the PlayBook at its over 60 million BlackBerry subscribers as the Wi-Fi tablet will link with the BlackBerry smart phone through BlackBerry Bridge without the need to subscribe to a wireless carrier.

But those without the BlackBerry smart phones will not be able to access their email, contacts and calendar.

RIM says it will launch new PlayBook versions that run on wireless networks later this year.

The seven-inch, Wi-Fi-only PlayBook will be available in three models, featuring 16, 32 and 64 gigabytes of storage capacity, and in the price range of $499 to $699.

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