Research in Motion reportedly had plans to release Playbook, the coming-next-year tablet PC announced at the BlackBerry Developer's Conference last week, in time for the holiday season but scrapped those plans because of "technical issues," according to an investor's note by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar.
The note, reported on Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, suggests that the QNX Neutrino software platform that will power the Playbook "was not ready for prime time" and that the Marvell Armada 610 app processor that the company had planned to use was "bug ridden." Instead, the company will be using a processor from Texas Instruments.
RIM was rumored to have problems with the tablet up until the announcement at its developer conference. In addition to the problems highlighted by Kumar, we've heard that RIM's implementation of Adobe's Flash and the general user experience was lacking. Apparently, Kumar has been hearing the same chatter.
Based on spec sheet and a splashy introduction video, the BlackBerry Playbook generated a lot of excitement and buzz and likely made CIOs pause when they heard the company talk-up its readiness for the enterprise. After all, many enterprises are already invested in BlackBerry for mobile devices.
But Kumar said in his note that he sees problems ahead as the developer community tries to migrate from the legacy BlackBerry OS to QNX. And I couldn't help but wonder - in a blog post last week - whether this tablet is the real deal or just a bunch of vaporware, a coming-soon teaser to slow down the momentum of growth by Google's Android and Apple's iOS.
I'm still hopeful that the tablet actually does surface and is able to offer what it has so far teased. On Wall Street, the message so far has been: proceed with caution. From Kumar's note:
Through a series of misexecutions, RIMM is seeing the window of opportunity on the smartphone/tablet segment close. While the stock may appear compelling on forward estimates, we believe that it is a classic value trap.
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