UPDATE [Friday, September 16, 2011 at 7:50am ET]: RIM just reported quarterly earnings. They shipped 200,000 PlayBooks, barely half the figure analysts projected. That means that sales ratio to iPad is 1:46, not 1:19. Shares slumped 20 percent on the news, Financial Times reports.
We’ve suspected Research In Motion’s seven-inch BlackBerry PlayBook tablet may have been met with muted response from the iPad-maddened fans of technology. Bloomberg polled a group of analysts and concluded that RIM during last quarter may have shipped just one PlayBook for every nineteen iPads. Apple during the June quarter shipped 9.25 million iPad. iPad sales surged following the somewhat subdued shipments of 4.69 million units in the March quarter, when the company had begun winding down production of the original iPad ahead of the iPad 2 launch.
As for the PlayBook, RIM is set to report quarterly earnings tomorrow so Bloomberg’s comparison is a bit unfair because it draws conclusions from analysts’ estimates, who we know often miss the mark. There’s also that crucial difference between shipping and actually selling something to end users. Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley forecasts 1.5 million PlayBooks in this calendar year versus 39.2 million iPads and seven million Samsung tablets.
With sluggish tablet sales and a likely revenue decline, RIM is placing high hopes on profit surge from sales of next-generation BlackBerrys, to be driven by the QNX operating system which also powers the PlayBook tablet PC. The problem is, first QNX BlackBerrys won’t arrive before the first half of 2012. By that time iPhone 5 and next-gen Android devices will have sold by truckload and people will be already buzzing about iPhone 6. Plus, with a state of flux RIM’s currently in, it is difficult to tell whether these phones will arrive on time.