Blackberry Playbook Goes On Sale Today Described As Work In Progress

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Research In Motion’s much-criticised Blackberry PlayBook goes on sale in Australia today, with the Canadian company reeling under a bad set of figures and its shares taking a battering.Australian IT editor Stuart Kennedy has described the 7-inch PlayBook as a “a work in progress, with many features promised for a way down the track.” A major problem is that it has no built-in email and calendaring apps, so users must either use Webmail apps or hook up to a BlackBerry phone using the supplied Bridge software. “Break the connection to the phone, though, and none of the data stays on the tablet,” he notes.

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However, Adele Beachley, MD of  RIM A/NZ, has rejected claims that the PlayBook will struggle to gain significant market share here.

“I meet with CIOs and CEOs of Australian enterprises all the time [and] they have been waiting for PlayBook. I’m confident,” she told ITNews.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Research In Motion – which has been battered by the huge success of Apple’s iPhone as well as handsets using Google’s Android operating system – late last week turned in a set of numbers even worse than most analysts’ lowered expectations.

Profit during RIM’s first quarter, which ended May 28, fell 9.6 percent to US$695 million on revenue of $4.9 billion. In the same period last year, it reported a profit of $769 million on revenue of $4.24 billion.

RIM reduced its outlook for the second time this year, sending its stock sharply lower in after-hours trading. RIM cut its fiscal year estimates to US$4.2 billion, down from the earlier estimate of $4.8 billion.

Co-CEO Jim Balsillie admitted in a statement that the Blackberry mobile phone line was suffering from increasing age. He said RIM would lay off employees to make the company more efficient.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdry said RIM is “getting killed” by the iPhone in the premium smartphone sector and by cheap Android phones in Asia at the low-end.

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