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5/18/2011
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RIM Sells 250,000 PlayBooks In First Month

Apple's iPad still rules the tablet market, although Research In Motion has posted solid BlackBerry PlayBook sales, says RBC analyst Mike Abramsky.

RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardown
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: RIM BlackBerry PlayBook Teardownr
In a note to clients, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky said he believes sales of RIM's PlayBook tablet are steady so far after its first month in the market. Since its April 19 launch in the U.S., Abramsky thinks RIM has moved about 250,000 PlayBooks. Further, he believes RIM is on track to sell 500,000 PlayBooks by the end of the quarter.

That's not a bad start at all.

"Checks at 180 Best Buys show 14% of the 16 GB sold out, 71% of the 32 GB sold out, and 84% of the 64 GB sold out; however, 32 GB/64 GB stockouts appear allocation-related," he wrote. Are many PlayBooks being returned? Not really, he said, calling PlayBook returns "nominal."

If RIM is truly selling the PlayBook this steadily, then it is off to a much better start than Motorola's Xoom tablet, which runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb. During its most recent quarterly report, Motorola indicated that it shipped 250,000 Xooms, but it didn't reveal how many went to actual customers rather than simply fill the channel.

T-Mobile recently launched the LG G-Slate Honeycomb tablet. No sales figures are available for the G-Slate yet. In my time with the G-Slate, I was impressed by the hardware, LG did a great job crafting a quality tablet. It's also hard not to like the 3-D video capturing capabilities.

More Android tablets are primed to hit the market. Samsung and Google handed out 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1s to Google I/O attendees last week, but the device won't be available to consumers until some point in June. HTC's tablet, landing at Sprint as the View 4G, is also nearly ready to go on sale.

RIM, Motorola, LG, Samsung, and HTC have a long way to go, however, to topple market leader Apple and its iPad 2. Apple has already sold millions of the tablets around the world since its March 11 debut.

The latest research from Nielsen indicates that the Apple iPad has 82% of the tablet market in the U.S., with 43% owning the Wi-Fi version and 39% owning the Wi-Fi + 3G version. The rest of the field--Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy, and others--combined takes a meager 18% of the tablet market.

Apple has lost a little ground, though. When it debuted the iPad 2, Apple claimed to have more than 90% of the tablet market. It lost 8 percentage points. Samsung owns 4% of the tablet market, Dell owns 3%, and Motorola owns a pathetic 2%. According to Nielsen's numbers, 9% of the tablet market belongs to "Other." RIM's PlayBook wasn't included in Nielsen's most recent research.

"Despite the addition to the market of new tablet computers like the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom, in the United States, Apple's iPad is still dominating the conversation--and market," wrote Nielsen.

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