Sprint axes the BlackBerry Playbook amidst disappointing sales

Mon, Aug 15, 2011


Things continue to look bleak for the BlackBerry Playbook, RIM’s ‘better late than never’ attempt to enter the tablet space.

The Playbook debuted in late April to an unrelenting stream of harsh reviews. No GPS app, no built in-email, no apps, no cellular connection, and poor battery life were just a few of the many complaints early reviewers levied upon RIM’s tablet a few months back. Indeed, the complaints and gripes regarding the Playbook were so voluminous that it even prompted an official response from RIM’s CEOs.

That notwithstanding, analyst Mike Abramsky issued a note to investors in May claiming that RIM had already sold 250,000 units of its fledgling tablet device. At the time, Abramsky’s figure was surprisingly high. Yet with no concrete way to verify his estimate, most folks paid little attention to the report and naturally assumed that the PlayBook was trudging along about as well as all the other iPad competitors out there – that is to say, not well at all.

During RIM’s earnings conference call, they were mum on the actual number of Playbook’s shipped, but harped on the fact that they had shipped 500,000 units to distributors and retailers. Yeah, that’s a nice big number but who cares if no one’s buying it? In contrast, during the same quarter, Apple actually sold 9.3 million iPads to consumers.

With all that said, the Playbook appears to be doing worse than even the pessimistic among us may have assumed.

Word broke this past Friday that Sprint was dumping the Playbook tablet.

“That leaves RIM without one of the big three U.S. wireless carriers promoting the device,” Erik Sherman writes for bnet, “which puts all of the marketing and business development expense on the company when sales are down, investors unhappy, and consumers highly unimpressed.”

As you might expect, Sprint axed the Playbook amidst poor sales. Indeed, one of the problems that plagued the Playbook was that it was in no-man’s land. It was hardly an entertainment device to be used for watching movies of playing games, and it was hardly a business device either – I mean, who wants to hook up their BlackBerry phone to their tablet just to check email?

To that end, the president of Sprint’s business markets group – Paget Alves – explained: “It’s an interesting concept, it just hasn’t caught on with business customers as much as they would like. There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer.

via WSJ

Related: Apple sells more iPads every two weeks than Motorola does in a quarter



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