RIM PlayBook and Motorola Xoom tablet orders to Taiwanese hardware makers point to 2 million in first-quarter shipments for the Apple iPad challengers.
Demand and expectations are indeed high for tablet computers that aren't
branded iPad, according to reports from component makers out of Taiwan.
Digitimes reported that Quanta Computer has begun
1 million Research In Motion PlayBook tablets for the first
quarter, underscoring pent-up demand for the enterprise-oriented tablet.
The news Website also cited industry sources claiming
Motorola has placed orders for 700,000 to 800,000 Xoom tablet units, with
orders ramping to 1 million for the first quarter. Xoom's big draw is that it
features the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 operating system.
Coupled with the 1 million-plus Samsung Galaxy Tabs sold, that would mean 3
million non-iPad tablets shipped through the first quarter of this year. That
figure seems solid until one considers that Apple sold 4.2 million iPads in the
last quarter alone.
Even so, RIM and Motorola are hungry to catch some of the fire Apple has lit
with its iPad, which has sold anywhere
from 14 million to 15 million units to date.
eWEEK tested the 7-inch-screen RIM PlayBook with a 1GHz dual-core processor
and 1GB of RAM at the 2011 Consumer
Electronics Show earlier this month.
eWEEK's Nick Kolakowski found the device
to be a solid entry, with tethering perks to help
corporate road warriors port their BlackBerry content to a larger screen.
PlayBook's BlackBerry Tablet OS offers users gridlike screens of individual
applications, allowing users to easily swipe their finger through thumbnails
RIM will launch a WiFi-only version of the PlayBook this quarter, with a 4G-enabled
version coming from Sprint
The Xoom offers
a roomier 10.1-inch screen than the PlayBook and is
powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, which means it should easily
be faster than the iPad.
Google Android engineer Mike Cleron showed off the Xoom Jan. 6 at CES, where
the device was feted as the best of the dozens of tablets introduced at the
The Xoom, with thumbnail access points for touch gestures and multitasking
capabilities instead of physical buttons, clearly looked to be a viable iPad
The Xoom will launch in February on Verizon's 3G network, and will be
upgradable to Verizon's 4G LTE network later this year.
However, just as RIM and Motorola gird to launch their first tablets, Apple
its iPad 2, which will sport two cameras for video
chat, among other features.
Expect an early spring launch for the iPad 2, if not sooner, as Apple seeks
to lengthen its long tablet lead.
Forrester analyst Sara Rotman Epps said
she expects the iPad to capture the lion's share of the
24.1 million tablet sales she forecasted for 2011.