Toronto, April 9 Apple came in the way of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) in getting its PlayBook tablet released earlier, according to a trade magazine.
The Canadian wireless giant, which had announced the PlayBook much before Apple's iPad 2, will finally launch the tablet April 19 in the US and Canada at a starting price of 499.
But since RIM's assembly partners were also committed to supplying touchscreen panels to Apple for its iPad 2, they didn't have enough supplies to meet its demand, according to Digitimes.
Quoting market watchers, the magazine says, "PlayBook shipments were postponed for about a month from the original schedule due to a delay in software testing as well as shortage of touch panels because Apple already booked up most of the available capacity.''
But with its launch April 19, RIM's upstream assembly partner Quanta Computer and connector supplier Foxlink now expect to benefit in a big way, according to Digitimes.
These suppliers "internally sees the device (PlayBook) as one of the major tablet PC orders for 2011,'' the magazine says. "Foxlink has also recently started mass shipping its connectors to RIM for the PlayBook. Foxlink is also a connector supplier for iPad 2.''
But according to Digitimes, rival Apple's iPad 2 is selling even faster than the first-generation iPad.
"Sales of the iPad 2 are running at a rate faster than its predecessor, and Apple took delivery of 2.4-2.6 million
units in March,'' says the magazine, quoting trade sources.
Based on a conservative estimate, the magazine says, Apple is likely to sell 4 to 4.3 million units a month.
RIM, which considers its PlayBook a direct challenge to the iPad 2, has tied up with retailer Best Buy for pre-ordering the tablet in North America. Pre-orders started March 22, but no figures are available.
The BlackBerry maker will first launch the Wi-Fi version of the PlayBook in three models, featuring 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage at $499, $599 and $699 respectively.
It has already announced to offer the PlayBook in four models - Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi+WiMax, high-speed LTE and HSPA+.
At 7-inch size and featuring front and back cameras, the PlayBook will run on BlackBerry maker's new powerful QNX operating system which it specifically bought for the tablet.