April 21, 2011 at 1:16 PM ET
Research In Motion's first tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, did better than some thought it might on its first day of availability, with 50,000 PlayBooks sold on April 19.
"The launch appears to have been stronger than the launch of Motorola's Xoom [Android] Tablet, or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, although it's too early to judge sustainability," said RBC Capital Markets' analyst Mike Abramsky said in a note to clients.
The tablet enters an increasingly crowded field, led by Apple's iPad, which sold 300,000 tablets on its first day in April 2010. Since then, Apple has sold 19.5 million iPads and iPad 2s through the latest quarter.
Abramsky said that Canadian-based RIM is on track to ship a half-million PlayBooks in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, according to the Montreal Gazette.
Early reviews of the 7-inch tablet have been mixed, giving the PlayBook props for its crisp screen, solid build and good multitasking power. RIM has priced the PlayBook to be competitive with the iPad. The least expensive Wi-Fi-only PlayBook, with 16 GB, costs $499.99, matching the iPad with the same configuration (albeit 99 cents more for the PlayBook). A 32GB PlayBook is $599.99, and a 64GB version is $699.99 (again with the 99-cents diff).
You've got to have a BlackBerry phone to use RIM's popular email and calendar apps, and that likely will be a deterrent to some potential buyers. Another frustration is that BlackBerry Bridge, which is needed to get email, does not yet work with BlackBerry users on AT&T.
The wireless carrier said it is still testing Bridge software.
"We just got the app for testing. Before we make it available to our customers we want to make sure we deliver the type of experience our customers would expect," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Reuters. "We have to test this app."