Research In Motion said it has no plans to discontinue its BlackBerry PlayBook, pushing back at rumors that the WiFi version of the tablet is going bye-bye.
Motion is denying reports that it plans on discontinuing the WiFi-only version
of its PlayBook tablet.
suggesting that the WiFi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook is being
discontinued are pure fiction," a company spokesperson wrote in a July 18 email
"Over the past month, the
PlayBook has launched in 16 additional markets around the world and further
rollouts are planned for Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East."
of a discontinued PlayBook stemmed from RBC Capital Markets managing director
Mike Abramsky, who, according to a July 18 posting by the blog Boy Genius Report
, "reiterated an OTR Global
report that Research In Motion is possibly planning to stop production of the
current WiFi BlackBerry PlayBook model." BGR's Jonathan Geller has done quite a
bit of deep digging into RIM's alleged corporate issues
, so the blogosphere
immediately locked onto the posting.
RIM had high
hopes for the PlayBook, which runs the company's QNX-based operating system.
The tablet sold around 500,000 units in its first quarter of release, but
according to an unnamed RIM employee speaking to Boy Genius Report, the company
didn't sell those units at full margin.
process was that they hoped if they put a product in the carrier's hands that
was less than full margin, it would entice the carriers," that employee is
quoted as saying in a July 13 posting. "RIM isn't making any money on the
needs a nearby BlackBerry device to provide native email, something the source
added was off-putting to the carriers. RIM has been pushing through regular
software updates to PlayBook owners, but it remains to be seen whether the
tablet can sustain momentum in a marketplace dominated by the Apple iPad and
increasingly filled by competitors such as Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1.
During a July
16 earnings call, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie suggested to analysts and media that
RIM is in a serious period of "transition," but that the company's top
executives nonetheless have a plan to guide the company back to productivity.
At the time, RIM announced it would begin laying off employees as part of a
"streamlining of operations."
RIM plans on
porting the QNX operating system to smartphones. Those "superphones," as the
company calls them, will theoretically arrive on store shelves in the second
half of 2012. RIM is betting that updating its product line will help reverse
its market declines and build some positive buzz about its prospects. Until
that QNX transition, however, the company will need to rely on the BlackBerry 7
OS for its smartphones, which isn't a radical upgrade from the previous
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