The BlackBerry PlayBook hasn’t exactly captured the hearts and minds of the market since its rather lacklustre sales debut earlier this year. Even die-hard BlackBerry fans admitted that it’s not the 'complete package' that tablet buyers expect, given the absence of features such as native email and calendar applications, and the lack of any versions with cellular connectivity.
Now, BGR reports that RIM is preparing to stop production of the Wi-Fi device, citing a note to investors from Mike Abramsky of leading investment bank RBC Capital Markets.
With no firm launch date given for either the 3G or 4G PlayBook models, the Wi-Fi version – in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB flavours – remains the only PlayBook available, and the decision to end production may be indicative of a larger than expected backlog of stock in the face of slow sales. RIM reportedly downgraded its internal PlayBook sales estimates last month; DigiTimes reported several weeks ago that RIM’s early projections of selling 2.5 million units in its first three months were wildly optimistic, and have since been substantially downgraded to a more realistic projection of 900,000 sales.
If true, the move to cease production would allow RIM to clear inventory while focusing on bringing its 3G, LTE and WiMAX PlayBook versions to market. RIM has previously stated that it would deliver 4G versions to Sprint, AT&T and Verizon, although Verizon has since distanced itself from that claim, insisting that they are “still evaluating” the device. In the UK, meanwhile, mobile operator O2 last month reversed its decision to offer the PlayBook, stating: “Unfortunately, there are some issues with the end-to-end customer experience.”
Update: The official Blackberry Twitter has just called out BGR and said that their information is not correct.