One million Q1 shipments expected
The BlackBerry Playbook is shaping up to be one hell of a rival for Motorola's Xoom. We heard earlier that the the latter is expected to have between 800,000 and 1 million units ship for its initial launch. And now Digitimes reports that RIM is expecting 1 million units to ship during Q1. Apparently,
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"A number of executives from Taiwan-based notebook makers have given recommendations on PlayBook's OS and users interface after they tried on the gadget at CES, the sources noted."
That wouldn't surprise me one bit. I tried out the Playbook at CES 2011 and came away almost addicted. The gesture-based interface and slick, button-free design make it easy to pick up and startlingly fast to navigate with. Intuitive doesn't begin to describe it.
The Playbook is expected to roll out, WiFi only, in March. Followed by a 3G and Sprint 4G launch later on in the year. The Xoom is also set for a vague "Q1" launch date. The iPad 2 will probably launch in April, giving Motorola and RIM a month or so to duke it out before both take a back seat to Apple frenzy.
Don't expect either the Xoom or the Playbook to reach sales equal of the iPad 2. I'd be surprised if either was able to sell more units, faster than the original iPad. But both together have a good chance of at least matching Apple's new slate. And that would be more than enough to cement both devices as legitimate high-end tablet options.
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Apple's unquestioned dominance of this infant market is about to end, unless the folks at RIM and Moto make some serious mistakes.