PlayBook Gets Cold Shoulder from Sprint

PlayBook TabletResearch in Motion’s tablet hopes were struck down yet again as Sprint Nextel stated that it has canceled plans to sell a version of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on its faster network. This decision means that the tablet has yet to to find any support from the three largest wireless carriers in the United States, including AT&T and Verizon. Without the backing of these carriers, RIM will be forced to bear the burden of sales and marketing support for the device in addition to application development.

On the other hand, Apple’s iPad, which is subsequently dominating the tablet market at the moment, is advertised and supported by both AT&T and Verizon and is also displaying heavily in stores. Sprint had stated back in January that it would sell a version of RIM’s device as early as this summer, one that would run on Sprint’s 4th generation network. Sprint later said this week that those plans were halted because the tablet market has become “too crowded”.

According to President of Sprint’s Business Markets Group Paget Alves, “It’s an interesting concept, it just hasn’t caught on with business customers as much as they would like. There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer.”

A spokeswoman for Sprint added that this decision “has no impact on our relationship with RIM.” Sprint also noted that competing tablets, like the Motorola’s Xoom or HTC’s EvoView had increased competition in the market, not to mention the overwhelming popularity of the iPad and iPad 2.

RIM launched the PlayBook back in April in hopes of grabbing new customers as the sales of BlackBerry smartphones grew more slowly. Since then, RIM has had to deal with lackluster reviews, a small recall and an inability for it to connect to some email accounts.

RIM stated that it shipped 500,000 WiFi-only PlayBooks in its fiscal Q1 2012 in North America. However, that doesn’t really compare to the 9.3 million iPads Apple reportedly selling the same quarter. Motorola recorded 440,000 deliveries of its Xoom tablet in the fiscal Q1 2012 as well.

Source: The Wall Street Journal – Research in Motion: Sprint Says No Thanks to PlayBook

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