OMG: 1,000 PlayBooks Recalled

by Jordan Richardson on May 17, 2011

Research In Motion has recalled about 1,000 PlayBooks due to a “faulty operating system.”

Granted 1,000 PlayBooks is just a small fraction of the devices expected to ship in this spring period, but bloggers and analysts will doubtlessly have a field day with what could easily be termed another “roadblock” on RIM’s path to tablet success.

Edward Jones’ Bill Kreher says that he expects RIM to move about 500,000 units in the first quarter and around two millions in the first year. Given those estimates, 1,000 is small potatoes indeed.

With release delays and a shaky launch, however, any bump in the PlayBook delivery could be seen as an additional sign that RIM isn’t ready to rock. “We would like to see better execution,” said Kreher.

According to RIM, the 1,000 devices were still at retailers and hadn’t made it to the hands of customers. The problems pertained to the set-up of the device and only impacted the 16GB version. “In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance,” the company said in a statement.

As we all know, the PlayBook debuted to some rather decent reviews in April. Some news outlets suggested that RIM’s offering was despised by critics, but this was clearly not the case. Often compared to the iPad from Apple, the PlayBook was instantly given a reputation as a late-comer and has had to scratch and scrape for every ounce of respect since. The uphill battle may be forced by unrealistic expectations or market forces (or a combination of the two), but RIM hasn’t had it easy.

This story won’t help, that’s for sure.

Along with this small recall, RIM is facing problems for not being up to par on the latest trends in the market. “Our concern is timing,” National Bank Financial analyst Kris Thompson said in a note to clients. “The smart phone market is rapidly changing and will present new threats to RIM while we await new handset launches.”

Is RIM being treated fairly by analysts or media outlets? Or is the Waterloo company “earning” criticism with an ill-timed, unprepared launch of the PlayBook tablet? While it’s obviously premature to suggest that RIM’s venture is a failure, something tells me that many analysts and critics are already game to discard it as just that.

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