RIM isn’t having much success with the BlackBerry PlayBook. Without native apps for core functionality like email, contacts, etc., and a store with very few apps for the device, BlackBerry PlayBook never really had a chance, except with BlackBerry customers. Now even that trail has dried out, leaving RIM with almost 800,000 PlayBook units sitting in stores, as per The Guardian UK.
BlackBerry PlayBook sales aren’t even close to what RIM expected, even after a readjustment in estimates and discounts and offers on the product. RIM forecasted sales of 4-5 million PlayBooks this year but could move only 800,000 in the first half of 2011 and 100,000 in the third quarter.
Because of inventory pileup, RIM has canceled orders from its supplier Quanta Computers, resulting in 1,000 people losing jobs with the Taiwanese manufacturer.
HP TouchPad fizzled out because it failed to impress customers and RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook seems to be going the same way. RIM does have the BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 in the pipeline that will bring support for integrated email, contacts, etc., core apps, and Android app player to the BlackBerry PlayBook. If the native SDK goes public soon, RIM can bring more developers on board and launch a massive promotional campaign to rejuvenate interest in the improved BlackBerry PlayBook. All these things are expensive but at least RIM will see some returns this way. It wouldn’t want to end up selling the PlayBook for $100 to clear shelves.
Another strategy that RIM should consider is reducing the price of PlayBook. The tab costs the same as an iPad 2 right now which is just not justified. Bringing the price in the $300-$400 range could be a boost to sales while an even lower pricing could move things along quicker.
RIM must take the right steps immediately or go HP’s way. Or stick with BlackBerry smartphones.