RIM may be initially producing only 200,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets per month, playing it somewhat conservatively according to part manufacturers. Quanta has reportedly started manufacture of the new tablet and has reached a production range of 150,000 to 200,000 units a month. According to Digitimes, this figure is much lower than the previously suggested 1 million units per month. In contrast, Apple is currently at a manufacturing rate of between 2 and 3 million iPads a month.
The lower production numbers may reflect a more cautious approach on the part of RIM, choosing to stagger the launch of the new tablet in North America first, and then worldwide.
RIM is also keeping tight control over the manufacturing process, requiring Quanta to produce the PlayBook in Taiwan and prohibiting outsourcing to China. In doing so, RIM hopes to prevent knock-off Chinese clones, and also keep RIM’s ‘security specifications’ under wraps. According to the report, Quanta maintains enough capacity in Taiwan to meet client needs while the majority of its production lines are in China.
The good news is that shipments may be ready as early as February, according to sources at upstream component suppliers, so we will finally see how the BlackBerry PlayBook stacks up against the iPad in real world situations and in sales figures. If RIM is lucky, they’ll get it out before Apple announces the next iteration of the iPad.