RIM Delays 4G PlayBook to the Fall

BlackBerry managed to beat some analysts' estimates and ship 500,000 PlayBook tablets in its first six weeks on the market, but it may delay the 4G version of its first tablet until the fall. (See RIM Lowers Guidance Amidst Poor Q1.) The company initially said a WiMax version of the PlayBook would launch with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) this summer, followed by High-Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) versions following soon after. But on Thursday's earnings call, when asked about RIM's confidence level in its recovery plan, co-CEO Mike Lazardis said we'll start seeing the 4G PlayBooks out this fall. (See RIM PlayBook: LTE & HSPA+ Versions Coming.)

Lazardis and fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie wouldn't confirm how many PlayBooks RIM has sold to consumers, but they said they were very pleased with the numbers, even as they admitted that the launch had its share of hiccups. The pair spent RIM's first-quarter earnings call defending their cooperative CEO structure and assuring investors the worst was over.

Even so, the PlayBook isn't the only device delayed. RIM's new line of "superphones" based on the QNX operating system -- the same OS that powers its tablet -- are not expected until the second half of 2012. And the new BlackBerry Bold 9900 won't make its market debut until "very late August," the executives said.

The 9900 will feature the company's new BlackBerry OS 7 update, which RIM is counting on to tide consumers over until 2012, even though the OS didn't wow many in the industry when it was launched last month. (See RIM's BlackBerry Evolution Fails to Impress.)

As the company grapples with product delays, it is also reducing head count and lowering its outlook for the rest of the year. For the remainder of fiscal 2012, which will end in February, RIM expects earnings of $5.25 to $6 per share, down from the $7-per-share forecast officials made last quarter.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:01:36 PM
re: RIM Delays 4G PlayBook to the Fall

Where's the email client for the PlayBook? That was supposed to arrive "very soon" in April.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:01:35 PM
re: RIM Delays 4G PlayBook to the Fall

The co-captians said RIM is working on the email client and will push it OTA when it's perfect. They seemed apologetic about all the waiting time, but there must be bugs that they have to fix still.

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