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RIM Playbook sales not strong at launch

Research In Motion launched their new Playbook tablet however it is not off to a very good start, according to early sales reports. Several retailers have mentioned ‘modest' sales of the device throughout Tuesday. Reuters reported that many stores have been unable to shift their stock of five units.

The Wall Street Journal reported that several retailers saw modest sales of the device yesterday with a few stores in Toronto and New York saying that a few people had waited in line on Tuesday morning to get their hands on the new device.

“The traffic’s not iPad crazy, but there is a buzz,” said a salesman at a Sears department store in Toronto. “We actually had 5 people in the morning when the store opened at 7.”

As Kitguru already reported, the initial series of reviews have criticised the Playbook for being ‘unfinished' with a lack of application support. Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have already spoken out about the reviews, saying they were unfair.

The Playbook is Research In Motion's answer to Apple's iPad. The 16GB Wi-Fi only version is selling for $499 with the 32GB and 64GB models selling for $599 and $699 respectively. RIM has also said that a new 4G cellular data version of the PlayBook will come to the Sprint network this summer.

Analysts are hedging their bets on the success of this product saying that RIM will only sell 3 million units in 2011. Colin Gills, BGC Partner analyst said “It's going to be a tough sell to the consumer.”

IDC Analyst Al Hilwa added “It's not going to be in the same league as the iPad. The question is will it sell more than the [Motorola] Xoom but less than the [Samsung] Galaxy.”

KitGuru says: Will sales pick up over the course of the next month? If not, RIM might have a potential disaster on their hands.

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