Research in Motion recalls PlayBook tablets over faults

Research in Motion recalls around 1,000 PlayBook devices with software issues. Though it's not their biggest disaster, it could have a serious knock-on effect.

Research in Motion, manufacturer of BlackBerry smartphones, is recalling around a thousand of their 16GB iPad-competing PlayBook tablets, after some suffered from a software fault affecting the initial loading of the operating system.

The devices were shipped only to Staples stores, but it is unclear which country the affected stores are in.

But as many of the tablets are still in storage and warehouses, it is unclear how many have been affected, or how long it will take before customers get their hands on their new, albeit broken purchases.

Many consumers are not buying the PlayBook, opting for suitable alternatives to the late-in-the-game tablet, which had lukewarm reviews before it was even launched last month.

Granted, it could have been much worse. It is only a thousand devices of a specific model, but it does knock confidence in the PlayBook, with many knowing full well that the device was not strictly completely ready even on launch day.

A Research in Motion spokesperson said:

"RIM determined that approximately one thousand BlackBerry PlayBook tablets (16 GB) were shipped with an OS build that may result in the devices being unable to properly load software upon initial set-up.

The majority of the affected devices are still in the distribution channel and haven't reached customers. RIM is working to replace the affected devices.

In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance."

As ZDNet's British-sister site CNET UK considered, "this is still bad news for the PlayBook". Not only can 'dodgy' devices deter customers from spending their cash on a product which may have to be replaced, it adds further gain to competitors like the iPad and the Motorola Xoom for which were launched without hamper.

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