Is RIM’s PlayBook Headed For A Revival In Canada?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on February 21, 2012

Whether it’s the Be Canadian, Buy Canadian philosophy or the massive discounts on offer, RIM’s PlayBook is finally beginning to make its presence felt on home turf.  In fact, the PlayBook is now the iPad’s strongest opponent (if I could call it that) in the Canadian Market.

Last week, The Globe and Mail reported that RIM’s tablet, which launched in April last year, now has 15 percent of the Canadian market. Hard to believe as it may be – the iPad’s share dropped to 68 per cent from about 86 per cent. With PlayBook 2.0 OS expected to debut during the Mobile World Congress trade show, I can’t help wonder if RIM’s PlayBook is headed for a revival of fortunes, at least in Canada?

Of course, there’s no denial that discounted tablets inevitably sell well. The HP TouchPad sold out in no time once the company announced its fire-sale. Last holiday season, the PlayBook sold out in India – the land of low-cost tablets, thanks to an aggressive pricing.

So, is it just the PlayBook’s sweet price point? To put things in perspective, the PlayBook was unveiled at a minimum price tag of $500 and quickly dubbed as a failure of expectations. The same device is now selling well for less than $300 and some models are selling for just $200. Several industry experts believe RIM is actually selling PlayBooks for a loss simply to avoid losing significant market share in the tablet segment to the Apple’s iPad and a wide array of Android tablets.

SRG’s Digital Life Canada Quarterly reports indicate that PlayBook’s 7-inch screen is actually playing to RIM’s advantage. People who need purse or jacket-friendly devices are likely to opt for the smaller PlayBook as opposed to the 9.5-inch iPad.

None the less, the PlayBook’s revival strongly depends on the upcoming PlayBook OS 2.0 release. The new version is expected to offer comprehensive messaging support, with a unified inbox that combines (or separates) personal email, Microsoft Exchange email, and social networking messages from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It will also allow users to use their BlackBerry handheld as a keyboard or mouse for the PlayBook. And last but not the least, the PlayBook OS 2.0 will also run reformatted Android apps.

Of course, with RIM, there are several ifs and buts involved with all recovery plans. The biggest concern is whether the Waterloo-giant will stick to February timetable for the OS 2.0 update. With iPad 3 rumors heating up, I hope RIM realizes that time is of essence. Coming back to the original question – is the PlayBook headed for a revival? To be honest, I wish I could say that but a lot rests on what the much-anticipated PlayBook OS 2.0 has to offer.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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