Eight Million or 10 Million: Either Way, That’s a Lot of PlayBooks

Published on November 30, 2010
by John Paczkowski

Investors betting Research in Motion will sell about 10 million BlackBerry PlayBooks in the next fiscal year best temper their expectations a bit. With the iPad juggernaut rolling inexorably forward and a groaning board of rival tablets headed to market in the months ahead, some analysts are suggesting that RIM may not sell quite as many PlayBooks as it hopes (an interesting exercise, considering few outside of RIM have even used the device).

“Given the competitive environment heading into CY11 with the influx of more than 80 new competitive tablet offerings, we believe [selling 10 million units] may be challenging for RIM to achieve, particularly as the PlayBook is positioned as a ‘professional’ device and initially as a companion linked to a BlackBerry,” Susquehanna analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro said in a note to clients today, suggesting that sales of eight million is likely a better estimate. Which seems reasonable, particularly since the PlayBook will only support 3G data connectivity through a tethered BlackBerry.

That said, Apple did sell 4.19 million iPads last quarter. So it’s not entirely inconceivable that RIM could sell 10 million PlayBooks in four quarters, assuming the buzz around the device–which has driven the company’s shares upward since its announcement–continues.

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