updated 11:50 pm EST, Fri March 2, 2012
PlayBook gets rare lead over any tablet in stores
RIM posted word that Best Buy Canada and its sister chain Future Shop had seen the BlackBerry PlayBook become the top-selling tablet at their stores this week. Neither store was reporting by how much, but they implied that the tablet had outsold even the iPad. No mention was made of overall performance in the country.
What had triggered the jump wasn't definite, although the PlayBook 2.0 update's release in late February may have played a part. Renewed marketing linked with the update may have invited some to give it a second look now that the platform was largely finished with native e-mail and calendars.
The achievement would be a rarity for RIM and a much-needed, if minor, coup. Sales have picked up in recent weeks, but only after low sales that persisted even for some time after a 60 percent price cut to $199. Selling to its home country gives it an advantage, but it took some time for RIM to get back to 15 percent of the market in Canada. Apple still dominates the local market at 68 percent and has sales advantages RIM doesn't, such as its own North American stores and resellers that don't carry the PlayBook.
The tablet's chances in the US have been mostly dampened by the Amazon Kindle Fire, which costs as much and even shares some base design. In either country, any edge is likely to be short-lived with an imminent third-generation iPad and the rush that always follows.