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Motorola, RIM Struggle To Sell Tablets

Motorola's latest quarterly numbers show it shipped a meager number of its Xoom tablet. RIM, on the other hand, stoops to a buy-two-get-one-free offer to spur PlayBook sales.
Motorola's Xoom, the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet to reach the market, is not a popular choice among tablet buyers. During its most recent quarter, Motorola shipped only 100,000 of the devices. It shipped about that same number last quarter. It would appear the Xoom isn't zooming anywhere, least of all into the homes of consumers.

The Xoom has been available since February. Motorola and Verizon Wireless only recently began upgrading the tablet from 3G-only to 3G/4G, which was first promised at CES early this year. Despite the addition of Long Term Evolution 4G to the Xoom, there's little interest in it. Motorola's full quarterly report is available here.

Research In Motion's PlayBook has actually fared better than the Xoom. To-date, RIM has shipped about 750,000 of them, though the company hasn't revealed how many it has actually sold to end users.

RIM's PlayBook has been heavily criticized for its lack of email, calendar, and contacts support--all features deemed mandatory by tablet buyers. The PlayBook can tether with a BlackBerry smartphone to get access to those features, but without a BlackBerry, they aren't available.

[Weeding though the 250,000+ apps in the Android Marketplace could take weeks, but our guide will give you a quick look at the ones you really need. Check out 10 Epic Android Apps.]

RIM held a sale for the PlayBook at the end of September. It knocked the $499 device down to $299 briefly when purchased through some select retailers. By the end of September, however, the price went back up to $499.

Now, RIM is offering business customers a buy-two-get-one-free deal. Enterprise customers who purchase two PlayBooks through official resellers will receive a third PlayBook for free. RIM is also offering some premium accessories to companies that buy two PlayBooks, including a leather sleeve or a six-foot HDMI cable. The promotion lasts until the end of the year.

Enticing though the offer may be, the PlayBook will not receive a PlayBook 2.0 OS until February of next year. That means it still won't be able to provide employees with access to email, contacts, and calendar without the help of a BlackBerry.

We don't have information on how some of the other big-name tablets are selling. Samsung has been mum about sales of the Galaxy Tab 8.9, 10.1, and 7.0 Plus tablets, other than to say they are selling well. The LG G-Slate appears to have vanished from the market entirely, and the HTC JetStream is too new to have good figures.

None of the tablets have been able to dethrone the Apple iPad, which remains king of the tablet hill for the time being.