Despite poor sales, RIM "absolutely confident" in PlayBook

Despite poor sales, RIM "absolutely confident" in PlayBook

Summary: RIM to focus on selling PlayBook tablet to BlackBerry users.

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RIM continues to be "absolutely confident" in the PlayBook tablet despite poor sales and is to shift its focus to trying to convince BlackBerry enthusiasts to buy the tablet.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Patrick Spence, RIM's managing director for global sales and regional marketing, also hinted that the poor sales were down to RIM not being as clear as it could have been in defining the target audience for the tablet.

"We still could've done a better job of appealing directly to those BlackBerry customers," he said, adding the company is now and "trying to approach more of them."

The company's focus, he said, is on "targeting the 70 million BlackBerry subscribers around the world, and saying: 'this is the tablet for you.'"

In my opinion, RIM should have focused on BlackBerry users right from the start. Sure, a potential customer pool of 70 million might not seem that big if you think there's a massive market for tablets in the first place, but it was 70 million people already owning a BlackBerry and already sold on the product. What RIM tried to do with the PlayBook was sweep aside existing users and instead focus on an untapped market (well, a market untapped by everyone except Apple).

I guess one takeaway from this statement by Spence is that RIM isn't ready just yet to yank the plug on the PlayBook ... though as the HP TouchPad and Microsoft's KIN has shown, when things die in tech, they can dire real fast.

Going after BlackBerry users was obvious ... I'm amazed it's taken RIM this long to figure that one out.

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Security, Tablets

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10 comments
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  • Massive market for tablets

    Has anyone figured out what the total sales numbers for all tablets combined is?
    William Farrell
    • RE: Despite poor sales, RIM

      We know Apple has sold around 30 million, if wikipedia is to be believed. We also know that they have a majority. So, the entire market can't be any more than 60 million.

      Specific numbers? Okay, maybe we don't have them yet.
      Michael Alan Goff
      • <a href="http://www.tran33m.net/vb/">blackberry</a>

        @Michael Alan Goff 1. Stop making and selling the current Playbook as a viable, stand-alone tablet. Bundle the existing inventory with phones as a "smart communication package" and emphasize, as others have suggested, its utility as a portable screen expansion for the Blackberry.<br><br>2. Stay out of the tablet rat-race for at least a year. Put the money you'd throw away on marketing and advertising back into R&D. The public needs time to forget about the Playbook and look forward to something new.<br><br>3. Motivate the developer community. Overcome the technological and legal hurdles so that current iOS and Android developers can create and sell apps for QNX, quickly and easily.
        ytaa1
  • RE: Despite poor sales, RIM

    Here's the big difference between RIM and HP. When HP killed the Touchpad, they simultaneouly pulled the plug on all of WebOS, tablets, phones, embedded devices... everything. RIM cannot do this, as that would mean killing their entire business. For that reason alone, RIM has to keep trying to build a succesfull tablet, even if the demand isn't there just yet.

    For my money, RIM shouldn't try to compete with Apple or Android with their tablet. They can't win. instead, they should push the Playbook as an extension of your Blackberry with a bigger screen. Allows for better web browsing and the use of certain (business centric) apps that benefit from a larger screen. But marketing it as an entertainment platform like the iPad is a mistake for a company like RIM.
    dsf3g
    • RE: Despite poor sales, RIM

      @dsf3g

      Didn't they attempt this already with their bridge thing? If it's just a feature among many, fine, but if that feature is a requirement to get corp email and data, it's dead in the water. A tablet needs to have full functionality, not be essentially a dumb terminal to a Blackberry. With Blackberry struggling, why would you tie the fate of a another product to it? Especially when that product is fully capable of standing on it's own?
      TroyMcClure
  • RE: Despite poor sales, RIM

    I use a Blackberry because it is the work standard. I own an Apple iPad due to the fact that I travel quite a bit. To me the Playbook is still way too expensive to buy to use just for work. If it came down to 199.00 I would pick it up to use for work.
    CowboyJake
    • RE: Despite poor sales, RIM

      @CowboyJake I own an Apple iPad 2 as well and I'd pick up a Playbook just for the heck of it and as an extension of my work issued BB device if the price dropped to $199. A few people thought that $299 was a good price point for the PB but that's still too high given it's inherent limitations.
      jamboy34
  • RIM showing yet again that they just don't get it.

    Can you say pathetic? It's dead! Everyone who wanted one already got one and that was almost no one. Quit throwing good money after bad. It's business 101. FOCUS! You are surely going to lose your smart phone business as well if you don't. Here's a tip, nobody wants or even cares about qnx or any sort of proprietary RIM ecosystem. Hurry up and expand your MS partnership into WP and start building some kickass enterprise targeted smartphones. Your days of relevancy are numbered if you are too egotistical to accept that. Boo hoo for the proprietary RIM of yesteryear. Better to switch while there's still time and cry all the way to the bank than to "stay the course " and totally vaporize what remains of the market cap you have left after the past 12 months of this completely misguided path. How many times and in how many ways do you need to have the market vote with their wallets and try to frickin slap some sense into you? Your smart phone share freefall was one. Your playbook fiasco was two. One more and you're gone.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Smart post

      @Johnny Vegas I had to read almost halfway down to find out who you are shilling for! (If i hadn't recognised the name)
      radleym
  • Three steps to save RIM from the Playbook

    1. Stop making and selling the current Playbook as a viable, stand-alone tablet. Bundle the existing inventory with phones as a "smart communication package" and emphasize, as others have suggested, its utility as a portable screen expansion for the Blackberry.<br><br>2. Stay out of the tablet rat-race for at least a year. Put the money you'd throw away on marketing and advertising back into R&D. The public needs time to forget about the Playbook and look forward to something new.<br><br>3. Motivate the developer community. Overcome the technological and legal hurdles so that current iOS and Android developers can create and sell apps for QNX, quickly and easily.
    Tech watcher