updated 09:50 pm EST, Thu January 13, 2011
RIM may ship 1m BlackBerry PlayBooks for launch
RIM could have as many as one million BlackBerry PlayBooks shipping for the March launch if industry contacts' claims are accurate. The company's hopes for a big launch would have it reach the symbolic number in just the first quarter of shipments, Digitimes said. Motorola in contrast would be shipping no more than 800,000 Xoom tablets and could be eclipsed from the start.
As expected, the initial PlayBook would only have Wi-Fi, but a 3G version could be next and would add the missing direct e-mail support. Sprint's WiMAX-ready 4G PlayBook could arrive early with shipments as soon as the spring. RIM had only officially promised the WiMAX edition for the summer.
Motorola is still due to respond with both its 3G and Wi-Fi only versions before the end of the winter, likely starting with the Verizon model. The US carrier's subscribers wouldn't have to wait long for the 4G model, however. An LTE-aware version could be ready as soon as spring and would likely be accompanied by the promised module to upgrade to 4G from an existing 3G edition.
None of the involved companies are expected to confirm their production numbers, which if real wouldn't challenge incumbent Apple even when combined. Data for the iPad's results in fall hasn't become official, but Apple is believed to now be shipping more iPads in one month than Motorola or RIM would for a full three-month quarter. The known second-generation iPad could also kickstart Apple's sales by reaching a wider audience and by attracting those who had been holding out on the first generation.