RIM has sold an impressive 250,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets exactly one month after launch, according to figures from investment bank RBC Capital Markets.
PlayBook sales have remained steady since its launch in North America on 19 April, Mike Abramsky, an analyst at RBC Captital Markets, said in a note to investors.
"Checks at 180 Best Buy stores show 14 per cent of the 16GB [models] sold out, 71 per cent of the 32GB sold out, and 84 per cent of the 64GB sold out. However, 32GB/64B stockouts appear allocation-related," he said.
Abramsky added that RIM may sell 500,000 units in the first quarter, including 100,000 channel inventory, which is well above early sales estimates for the Android-powered Motorola Xoom.
Despite RIM having to recall 1,000 PlayBook units, the tablet is predicted to be popular as improvements are rolled out, the analyst explained.
"Despite its launch drawbacks and RIM's recall of 1,000 PlayBooks, checks show PlayBook returns are nominal to date," the note read.
"Forward milestones include further PlayBook launches (3G/4G,international) and awaited updates for PlayBook, e.g. standalone email, Android player, native SDK."
Judging by these estimates the PlayBook is on course to outsell the 10in Honeycomb-powered Motorola Xoom tablet, although it is still well short of repeating the huge success of the iPad. Apple managed to sell two million devices in just 60 days.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank estimated that it took two months to sell 100,000 Motorola Xoom devices in the US, and predicted that Motorola is on course to ship 150,000 units in the first quarter.
RIM's smartphone shipments were down by nine per cent on the quarter to 13.5 million units, Abramsky said, but BlackBerry sell-through in Europe and Asia remains healthy, and RIM holds the number two position for smartphone sales in the UK.
Meanwhile, the forthcoming BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930 smartphones remain on track for a late August launch, and will be followed by the Torch 2 and Storm 3 shortly afterwards.
The PlayBook is now available to pre-order in the UK, starting at £395, from Best Buy, Dixons, Currys, PC World, Insight, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U. The tablets are expected to be shipped to customers from 16 June.
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