BlackBerry PlayBook Launches Today In North America

RIM has finally launched its much-anticipated PlayBook tablet, with more than 20,000 stores across the United States and Canada welcoming customers.

According to a report on Reuters, the initial reponse has been somewhat underwhelming in comparison to the iPad 2 launch, with many stores being almost empty and selling just a few tablets in the first hours. This could be partly down to a relatively high level of pre-orders.

The PlayBook should though receive a warm welcome from its devotees, RIM is expected by some analysts to sell around 3 million PlayBook tablets this year. Also, given that IT managers and corporate clients constitute an important portion of their customers, a number of Blackberry PlayBook devices will be sold directly to enterprises.

Recent reviews haven't helped PlayBook too much, as it stands accused of lacking basic functions. Nevertheless, Staples and Best Buy claim that they’ve received quite considerable pre-orders. PlayBook could seize the opportunity arising from Apple’s short-term supply issues, although the number of those who might opt for the unfamiliar QNX based tablet instead of the established iPad could be fairly low.

Some market analysis done by Gartner suggests that by 2015, we could see 30 million QNX tablets being sold.

"It's not going to be in the same league as the iPad. The question is will it sell more than the Xoom but less than the Galaxy" Al Hilwa, a Seattle-based analyst at IDC, said. Obviously, the present PlayBook tablet lacks the iPad's or Android-based tablets' allure, so its direct competitors could be Samsung and Motorola. There’s also a fight to be had with another tablet that’s knocking on the door – HP’s TouchPad WebOs tablet.