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Poor results from RIM and their PlayBook tablet

Sep 16, 2011 @ 4:35 pm

By Davis D. Janowski

Boy did I ever give Research In Motion too much credit for business savvy.

Joel Bruckenstein and I were chatting at a group dinner during this week's AdventConnect national conference and he was seriously ribbing me over all the coverage I gave the PlayBook before and right after it came out.

I had to shrug and nod in sad agreement.

For a time six years ago I had been editor to Sascha Segan, PCMag's sharp and prolific reviewer of mobile devices (the link is to his latest column, in which he describes how RIM still has a shot at surviving).

Back then I edited review after review of innovative mobile phone models, probably why I gave them the benefit of the doubt when it came to the PlayBook.

Then I see this from Reuters just now that only adds to my misery and consternation:

    "…Perhaps more ominously, RIM shipped only 200,000 PlayBook tablet computers, which went on sale globally in June after weathering some scathing reviews at a North American launch in April.

    Analysts had expected RIM to ship almost 12 million phones and 600,000 tablets. RIM's own outlook was for BlackBerry shipments of between 11 million and 12.5 million.

    Highlighting a widening gap, Apple sold more 20 million iPhones and more than 9 million iPads last quarter after virtually creating the tablet market last year.”...

If only the firm had gone after the market they already owned — business — and the big enterprises with the PlayBook.

After all they have hundreds of thousand of installations of their Business Enterprise Server, a particularly easy way for administrators to deploy them.

But no, they chose to go head to head with Apple Inc. in a consumer play.

That's right, no finalized, polished operating system, comparatively few or compelling apps ready for download. On and on.

Despite all that I still really like the device. I have one on long-term loan. They have steadily continued to roll out incremental operating system updates and handfuls of apps continue to percolate. The battery life is good. It is really small and travels well and despite the size video plays beautifully on it, including all that Flash out there that the iPad has a hard time with.

What a shame.

Now there is the Cisco Cius, which is out-of-the-gate-ready for business and the enterprise and it would seem that RIM has again squandered what could have been a lead in that market.

More on the Cius from Cisco itself:

Introducing Cisco Cius and AppHQ

Cisco Unified Communications Solutions, including the Cius

Related stories (hardware):

BlackBerry PlayBook is here, but it's three inches too small for advisers

Android apps on the Blackberry PlayBook?

The Blackberry PlayBook cometh? (Take #1 online, links to stores etc.)

Samsung and RIM take dead aim at the iPad

Thinking of picking up an iPad? Here are a few things to consider

The iPad is here, almost

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