Research In Motion's PlayBook launch was delayed a month because of Apple exerting pressures on the supply of touch screens, according to a new report.
In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet was delayed due to Apple swallowing up
manufacturers' touch-panel capacity, according to a new report in DigiTimes.
7-inch PlayBook will hit store shelves April 19 in the United States and
Canada, with a starting price of $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB,
and $699 for the 64GB version. That places the device roughly in the middle of
pricing for the red-hot tablet market-not to mention toe-to-toe with the iPad
2, whose 16GB version retails for $499, 32GB for $599, and 64GB for $699.
from touch-screen panel makers also pointed out that PlayBook shipments were
postponed for about a month from the original schedule due to a delay in
software testing," read
DigiTimes' April 7 report
, "as well as shortage of touch panels because
Apple already booked up most of the available capacity." It added that Foxlink,
one prominent supplier, is tasked with shipping components for both RIM and
RIM representative told eWEEK
the company will not comment "on rumors and speculation."
the debut of the original iPad in 2010, manufacturers and pundits have kept an
eye on the bestselling tablet's potential effect on the worldwide electronics
supply chain. In addition to Apple, other beneficiaries from a blockbuster iPad
include the components makers who craft the touch-screen and its underlying
hardware, including the battery.
the same time, however, even the largest manufacturer boasts only so much
capacity; and, presumably, other tablet-makers who want to use the same or
similar parts could find their supply and timetables squeezed by the insatiable
demand for the iPad. Rumors
have also circulated
that Apple made a $3.9 billion investment in
touch-screen displays, which could limit the supply pool available to other
compounding the situation is the recent Japanese earthquake, which took several
electronics factories offline. An IHS iSuppli teardown of the iPad 2 identified
at least five components sourced from Japanese companies. While some suppliers
reported their fabrication facilities undamaged by the earthquake and
subsequent tsunami, difficulties in shipping and trouble with the electricity
grid could continue to make delivering components a challenge. That could
affect not only Apple's plans, but also those of other tablet-makers.
iPad 2 components sourced from Japan, said IHS iSuppli, include NAND flash from
Toshiba; DRAMs (dynamic RAMs) from Elpida Memory; an electronic compass from
AKM Semiconductor; a system battery from Apple Japan; and the iPad 2's
touch-screen overlay glass, which some analysts suspect comes from Asahi Glass.
most of the tablets poised to hit the market over the next few quarters, which
rely on Google's Android for an operating system, the PlayBook uses a
proprietary operating system developed in-house by RIM, using assets acquired
during the April 2010 takeover of QNX Software Systems.