BlackBerry Playbook: retailers positive on launch day
BlackBerry's first tablet to be as popular as its smartphones, claim top retailers including Best Buy and Phones4u
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BlackBerry’s first tablet hits the shops nationwide today – where Apple’s iPad led, now the PlayBook is following. Smaller and aimed at a very different audience, the device is not just another product for BlackBerry makers Research in Motion; it’s a whole new category.
And while BlackBerry may feel like it’s no longer the brand it once was – and the share price has almost halved since the PlayBook’s American launch – this remains a company that consumers believe in. Retailer Best Buy claims that “The BlackBerry brand is already highly regarded amongst our customers who are looking for excellent smartphones, and we expect BlackBerry PlayBook to be equally popular”. Indeed, over at Phones4u, trading director Scott Hooton says that “three of the top five retail contract sales in April were BlackBerry devices”.
So little wonder that expensive, stylish leather accessories for the PlayBook are already in production - see The top 10 BlackBerry PlayBook accessories. There’s a real desire among consumers young and old to find a rival to both Apple and Google’s Android operating system.
Unfortunately, reviews of the PlayBook have been lacklustre at best – The BlackBerry PlayBook: review of reviews. This is not a device whose magic has excited critics. Where BlackBerry needed a radical alternative to the iPad, or at least a better version, it has struggled. But the company has acknowledged the problem, and said updates are coming. In presentations to British MPs, they’ve even talked of improved models that will launch later in the year. That means, perhaps, consumers should see this first model as an experiment. How many will wish to pay to be guinea pigs remains to be seen.