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Thursday May 19, 2011 2:58 pm

BlackBerry PlayBook selling moderately well, so who is buying them?

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Corporate News, Handhelds

BlackBerry Playbook sales

It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for the BlackBerry PlayBook since its April debut, but according to financial analysts, the tablet might not be a complete disaster for Research in Motion.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimates that RIM has sold about 250,000 PlayBooks to date, and could sell about 500,000 in the quarter. Abramsky and his team checked out PlayBook stock at 180 Best Buy stores and found that 14 percent of the 16GB versions were sold out, 71 percent of the 32GB PlayBooks were gone, and 84 percent of the 64GB tablets had been purchased. He cautioned, however, that the sell-outs on the 32GB and 64GB "appear allocation related."

Abramsky found that returns for the PlayBook are "nominal," despite setbacks that include a recall of 1,000 tablets and the lack of a native email client.

This comes about a month after Peter Misek, an equity analyst with Jefferies, speculated that RIM possibly sold 45,000 PlayBooks in the first few days.

Abramsky, meanwhile, also looked at BlackBerry smartphones and found that "RIM now has the lowest number of [units] at U.S. carriers since mid-2007."

Sanford Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu, meanwhile, said today that RIM is a "broken brand," but that it can't get much worse for the company, according to Business Insider.

One new issue making the rounds, however, is decreased battery life. Network World reports that after RIM released an OS update, the PlayBook is not lasting as long. In a statement, RIM suggested allowing the PlayBook to be fully drained and fully recharged several times, which should fix the problem.

Before the PlayBook was even released, Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros., said battery issues were holding up its debut. The QNX operating system was originally designed for devices like network equipment and cars, where battery life isn't as much a constraint, presenting issues when shifting to tablets, Wu said in December.

The PlayBook will launch in the U.K. on June 16.

During a recent earnings report, rival Motorola said it shipped 250,000 Xoom tablets in the first quarter, but that does not mean all those tablets were sold to customers.

For more, see our full BlackBerry PlayBook review.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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