RIM’s Playbook Surprises – 12/23/12

RIM’s PlayBook surprises in sales and customer satisfaction

RIM's PlayBook surprises in sales and customer satisfactionThe company’s latest figures show that the much criticized tablet is not only selling well but that most owners are more than satisfied with its performance.

When RIM published its quarterly earnings report this week, there was one surprising number: 255,000, the total of PlayBook tablets it had shipped over the past three months. While not on par with Google, whose Nexus 7 is rumored to be selling 1 million a month, or Apple which is expected to sell 12 million iPads between November and the end of 2012, the total is still very impressive, especially when one factors in the negative reviews the tablet received when launched a year ago and the criticism it still continues to attract from those in the tech community.

When asked about the numbers in the investors’ conference call on Thursday evening, RIM’s CFO, Brian Bidulka, claimed that some of the tablet’s performance had been due to strong promotional activity, such as large discounts and special offers, but it is also because RIM has carried on improving the device since its initial launch in April 2011 and as such is one of the few tablets currently available that supports 4G mobile internet connectivity.

Added to that is the fact that it is a seven-inch tablet, a form which thanks to Google, Amazon and, more recently Apple is now among the most popular with potential tablet buyers. And of course, unlike anything on the market that runs Android or iOS, the PlayBook can read and edit Microsoft Office documents  a feature that won’t be coming to the iPad until 2013 — and it can run apps simultaneously for ‘real’ multitasking.

Meanwhile, in PC World’s annual reader satisfaction survey, also published this week, which polled 45,000 site users about the reliability and performance of their desktop PC, laptops, smartphones, tablets and peripherals, the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook came fourth, just one place behind Apple in third.

Overall, owners were very happy with the product and in category-specific tables it actually came top for the quality of its display, beating not only Apple, but Samsung and Asus (maker of the Nexus 7) too while it was ranked fourth for speed and design and joint second for battery life.