updated 10:20 pm EDT, Wed April 6, 2011
BlackBerry PlayBook partly delayed by iPad builds
Apple may have inadvertently contributed to a month-long delay for the BlackBerry PlayBook. Touchscreen panel builders said late Wednesday that Apple had booked so much touchscreen production for devices like the iPad that it had triggered a shortage and made it hard for RIM to get supplies. Last-minute software testing was the only other factor mentioned by Digitimes' sources on the subject.
The claim hasn't been confirmed but has been corroborated by earlier reports. Apple has been said for months to be making most of the touchscreen orders in Taiwan. RIM had also said in one fiscal results call that it expected to see the expenses of shipping the PlayBook at the end of its quarter finishing in February but to start getting revenues at the start of the next quarter in March, implying that it had fully intended a March shipping timeframe. It ended up setting an April 19 release date.
The tablet has had a long history with mixed performance. RIM first showed the PlayBook in September but immediately set a roughly six-month wait. While praised for its speed and modern OS, the tablet was repeatedly compared against the original iPad under the assumption that Apple wouldn't have an answer anytime soon. Both the originally scheduled delay and the new, rumored gap gave Apple a large amount of time to ship an iPad 2 that negates most of the PlayBook's claimed advantages, and RIM is still rushing the release as it won't have a native e-mail client for some time after the launch.