We first heard about the PlayBook well over a year ago and the device was first shown off in September of last year. It’s been a long and winding road since then, but the device is finally available for purchase in U.S. and Canadian stores as of today.
The run-up to the availability of this RIM tablet has been peppered with unveiling of many similar (and some quite impressive) devices from competing companies. Of course, the iPad 2 has been out for a while, but customers in the market for a tablet will also be considering the Motorola Xoom, the not-yet-released Asus’ EeePad Transformer, the upcoming Galaxy Tab 10, the LG Optimus Pad, Acer’s new line of tablets, and a whole ream of other slates and tabs either already available or promised for the very near future. To say it's up against some stiff competition would be a huge understatement.
The PlayBook has come under fire for the fact that it won’t be shipping with a native email, contacts or calendar applications. These features are available for users pairing their RIM device with their BlackBerry phone, but those without a BlackBerry will have to wait until RIM release native apps for these missing PIM functions.
Despite this, the Wall Street Journal cites retailers that say the device is seeing ‘steady’ sales. Sears in Toronto told the newspaper that though it didn’t compare to iPad frenzy, there were a handful of people waiting to buy the PlayBook at 7am this morning. Similarly a Best Buy in Boston also said people were waiting outside for the store to open. In the Stapes on Broadway in New York City, all 10 PlayBooks in stock were sold out within a couple of hours. A salesperson told the Wall Street Journal they were placing customer orders online. However, in Akron, Ohio, sales had yet to even start by late morning. Just before noon, a Best Buy situated there told WSJ that despite advance orders, they hadn’t sold a single unit.
Did you buy a BlackBerry PlayBook? Are you also a BlackBerry owner? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.