July 18, 2011 at 3:12 PM ET
See update below
Research In Motion, known for its BlackBerry phones, may discontinue making its Wi-Fi only PlayBook tablet — right now the only model of PlayBook available. The company could still forge ahead with plans for a PlayBook that also uses cellular connectivity.
BGR said that in a note to investors Monday, RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky "reiterated an OTR Global report that Research In Motion is possibly planning to stop production of the BlackBerry PlayBook’s Wi-Fi model ... The reasons for the discontinuation of the Wi-Fi edition, Abramsky states, could be related to a pullback in production, a move that would align channel inventory with slower than expected sell-through, in addition to RIM focusing on upcoming cellularly-connected PlayBook versions."
Meaning, in short: They're likely not selling a lot of PlayBooks. We've asked RIM to comment, and will update when and if they respond.
RIM released its long-awaited, 7-inch tablet in April in North America, and has been making plans to sell it in other countries around the world. It retails for $499 for a model with 16 gigabytes of storage, $599 for a 32 GB version and $699 for 64 GB. That's the same price as Apple's iPad 2.
While it has been praised for its excellent design and sharp screen, some are put off by the fact that you have to "tether a BlackBerry phone to get native (email) calendar, and BlackBerry Messenger" on the tablet.
Aside from competition from the iPad, several new tablets have launched in recent months, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1-inch version, Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad and Toshiba Thrive.
Updated 5:15 ET: RIM's response: "Rumors suggesting that the Wi-Fi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued are pure fiction. Over the past month, the PlayBook has launched in 16 additional markets around the world and further rollouts are planned for Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East in the coming weeks."