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BlackBerry PlayBook: A tablet disaster

The tablet market is looking like a two-horse race at this juncture. It's Apple's iPad with a huge, market-defining lead, and Amazon's Kindle Fire catching up. The only distinct third option, outside the ill-defined Android context, is Research in Motion with its BlackBerry PlayBook. And that tablet hasn't even come close to meeting expectations. This is from the LA Times:

[PlayBook] numbers are small compared with the sales of competing tablets. RIM said in its statement that it sold about 150,000 PlayBook tablets to retailers in the quarter ended Nov. 26 "and sell-through to end customers, based on RIM's internal data, was higher than this amount."

How does that compare with iPad and Kindle sales? 

Not well. Apple may sell 60 million iPads by the end of 2011. Meanwhile, Amazon may have already sold 2 million Kindle Fires, and may soon sell 2 million more.

RIM sounds like it's staying committed to the tablet market. But the holiday battle is shaping up to be one almost exclusively between Apple and Amazon. If RIM wants to compete, it may need to start from scratch. A good place to start would be aggressively re-focusing the PlayBook to serve business users. As you can see from the above video, that's not necessarily what the current PlayBook is all about.

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