Alas, poor PlayBook: After a short time on market suffering the slings of arrows of critical and public derision, it looks like RIM may be putting the PlayBook to bed for good. It’s still at the rumor stage, so keep your salt-shaker handy, but reports are coming in that RIM has decided to can production of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and may be leaving the tablet market completely. BGR has an interesting article online about it, and says that Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh told investors about it this morning citing sources at Quanta, the PlayBook manufacturers.
[quote]“While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook, our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet, Vinh wrote. “Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIMM (sic) has canceled development of additional tablet projects.”[/quote]
This decision would be a huge blow to RIM, who really bet the farm on the PlayBook after marketshare in the smartphone market dropped like a stone after the arrival of the iPhone and Android devices. It should come as no surprise, however, as shipments (500,000 in the first quarter after its release on April 19, 200,000 in the second) were far below projections and the tablet’s myriad flaws came to be known (shipping without an email client? Hello?). RIM CEO’s Jim Balsillie didn’t help matters by talking a big game about how the PlayBook would succeed and launching an ad campaign which said “Amateur hour is over”.
It underlines for me the same sentiment that comes tied to every iPad competitor to hit the market thus far, best articulated by @_danilo on Twitter: “I don’t dislike Apple competitors because they’re not Apple. I dislike them because they’re inept.”
Update: Reuters says RIM denies the rumors and says they’re “pure fiction”, and they remain committed to keeping the PlayBook alive. So… I guess we’ll see how many more rounds RIM can go in the tablet market before they either do the inevitable or surprise the hell out of all of us.