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RIM hopes to sell a million PlayBooks in Q1; will allow tethering

BlackBerry PlayBook
Image used with permission by copyright holder

RIM is excited about its BlackBerry PlayBook. The smartphone manufacturer has ordered one million PlayBook units from Quanta Computer in Taiwan and it expects to sell them by the end of March, reports DigiTimes. To put that into perspective, Motorola only ordered somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million Xoom tablets for the same period. Samsung racked up 600,000 Galaxy Tab sales in its first month on the market last fall.

RIM has put all its energy into the PlayBook. Its CES booth was dominated by the 7-inch tablet. Luckily, it was one of the best tablets on the show floor this year. The new Tablet OS was solid and the device had enough power to run a number of different applications simultaneously. You can read our full impressions here.

Still, is the market big enough to handle millions in sales for each of these major manufacturers? With so many entering the market, its inevitable that some of them won’t make it. What do you think of the PlayBook’s chances?

Tethering and syncing

In addition to its lofty sales goals, RIM has confirmed that it will allow users to tether their PlayBook to BlackBerry smartphones to leech Internet access, says Computerworld. The main reason for this is that the PlayBook may not be capable of accessing email and calendar items on its own. It can sync with a BlackBerry host device (a phone) via BlackBerry Bridge or Bluetooth, but RIM is concerned about the security of keeping email on the PlayBook itself when connected to BlackBerry servers.

This news is no doubt disappointing to anyone that hoped to fully use the PlayBook without owning a BlackBerry phone as well. Hopefully RIM is working on ways to make the PlayBook secure enough to access sensitive email. If not, it doesn’t bode well for RIM’s next generation of smartphones, rumored to run on the same QNX OS that powers the PlayBook.

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Jeffrey Van Camp
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