Last month (Oct. 6), we reported Research In Motion had unveiled its first tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook on Sept. 27. I quoted PCMag.com’s Sascha Segan, who speculated the device’s price point being between $600 and $850.
Turns out Segan wasn’t that far off. RIM’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg (Nov. 9) the PlayBook would launch in the first quarter and cost less than $500. Bloomberg’s Hugo Miller explained that the Apple iPad starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, but costs up to $829 for a 32GB cellular network model. So, really, it’s likely the PlayBook’s price range will mirror that of the iPad: $500-$850.
Balsillie told Bloomberg his company’s tablet is “three to four times faster” than the iPad, comparing the two devices in terms of surfing the web and playing video, even posting a clip of the side-by-side performance on YouTube.
“The RIM chief’s remarks are the latest salvo in a war of words between RIM and Apple CEO Steve Jobs,” Miller writes. “Jobs said last month that devices like the PlayBook are ‘dead on arrival’ because they are too small to compete with the iPad and that RIM would struggle to attract application developers to support its BlackBerry devices.”
Balsillie fired back in an e-mail statement that people “are getting tired of begin told what to think by Apple,” later saying, “The web shouldn’t be an app. I don’t need a YouTube app to go to YouTube.”
Competition Coming In…
Along with RIM, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Samsung and even PC-maker Lenovo are entering the tablet market, which the iPad created, thereby filling a gap between smartphones and laptops. The newcomers have their work cut out for them: Bloomberg’s Miller notes that Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days after their April launch, and commanded a 95-percent share of the third-quarter tablet market, according to Strategy Analytics.
Lance Whitney of CNET News reported (Nov. 10) some analysts believe that as of early October, Apple may have sold more than 8 million iPads.
Lenovo to Sell LePad in U.S. and China Next Year
Lenovo, which debuted its first smartphone, LePhone, in China last May, said it will be releasing its LePad tablet in the U.S. and China next year. CEO Yang Yuanqing disclosed the product to the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 12, as reported by Owen Fletcher), but did not release details related to its pricing or its operating system.
“Lenovo said in April it expects 10 to 20 percent of its revenue will come from mobile Internet services within five years, up from low single digits at the time,” wrote Fletcher.