Research In Motion says a small batch of its PlayBook tablets were shipped with faulty software.
RIM has issued a recall for about 1,000 PlayBooks, all shipped to Staples retail stores. In a statement issued late Sunday, RIM explained, "RIM determined that approximately one thousand BlackBerry PlayBook tablets (16GB) were shipped with an OS build that may result in the devices being unable to properly load software upon initial set-up."
RIM doesn't explain in further detail what it means by "unable to properly load software." That could mean the devices won't boot, aren't initializing correctly, or can't add additional third-party software once the machine is up and running.
According to comments made in CrackBerry.com's reader forums, the PlayBook won't load the user agreement. Without the user agreement, users are effectively locked out of the device. RIM has not confirmed this, however.
Thankfully, most of the devices are still in a warehouse somewhere.
"The majority of the affected devices are still in the distribution channel and haven't reached customers. RIM is working to replace the affected devices," said RIM. "In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance."
RIM is taking the right steps here. It found a problem and is taking care of it right away. Since the problem appears to be limited to devices sent to retail stores, its likely any devices shipped directly to businesses via enterprise sales channels are unaffected. In other words, corporate customers shouldn't have (too much) cause for alarm.
According to Staples.com, those who've purchased their PlayBook's after May 1 may bring it back for a refund. The site explains, "Technology and business machines may only be returned within 14 days of the date of receipt, including Staples brand technology and business machine products." That might be the easiest and fastest route to take for consumers.
If you purchased the device before May 1, the best course of action would be to contact RIM directly. RIM's PlayBook support page can be found here.
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