John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Survey: Pre-Release Appeal of PlayBook Half That of iPad

Strong buying intentions are developing around Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook ahead of its presumed March launch. Extrapolating from a post-CES consumer survey, RBC* analyst Mike Abramsky concludes the device could sell four million units this calendar year and in excess of six million units in its first full year at market.

“The data shows PlayBook appealing to early adopters and power users, given its differentiation from iPad,” Abramsky told clients, noting that six percent of the survey group said they were “likely” to buy a PlayBook. Of those, one percent were “very likely” and the remaining five percent “somewhat likely.”

So six percent of respondents are very/somewhat likely to buy the PlayBook once it becomes available. That’s about half the level of interest expressed in a similar survey of iPad-buying intentions ahead of that device’s debut last year. And Apple ended up selling 14.8 million iPads in 2010, far beyond analyst consensus estimates of 3.3 million. So Abramsky four- to six-million forecast might not be that far off–assuming the PlayBook proves to be all that RIM claims.

That said, the tablet market today is very different than it was prior to the iPad’s debut. And with the legion of new tablets headed to market, including the iPad 2, Abramsky’s forecast could prove optimistic. Remember, despite the leverage of RIM’s installed base and the promise of the BlackBerry’s security and manageability, the PlayBook is still missing some of the platform elements that have made the iPad so successful–a thriving apps ecosystem, a vertically integrated platform and iTunes.

*Barbara Stymiest, chief operating officer at RBC Financial Group, sits on RIM’s board of directors. RBC also makes a market in RIM Securities.


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google