RIM taking PlayBook tablet to 16 international markets

BlackBerry PlayBook

Canada’s Research in Motion has announced it is taking its PlayBook tablet to 16 international markets in the next 30 days, expanding the availability of the company’s first entry into the tablet market. The PlayBook was launched to customers in the U.S. and Canada in April: RIM is planning to launch the PlayBook in the UK, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Australia, Venezuela, Spain , Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Mexico, France, Italy, India, Indonesia, and Colombia.

So far, the PlayBook has received mixed reviews—while some agree with the company that the tablet represents the first “professional” tablet and that its QNX-derived Interface is a significant improvement for RIM, the device’s reliance on BlackBerry smartphones for mobile connectivity can be a significant burden, and some reviewers have weighed in against the device for poor performance. (See Digital Trends’ own PlayBook review.) RIM was also forced to recall about a thousand of the tablets for an unspecified hardware problem.

RIM itself has been taking a beating lately: the company cut its profit forecast over a month ago, citing lower sales—and a growing proportion of its sales happening at the low end of its product line. And this week, Citigroup downgraded RIM’s stock rating, saying production delays may mean new BlackBerry smartphones miss the back-to-school buying season.