RIM has reportedly frozen production of the BlackBerry PlayBook and axed development of future tablets, according to one analyst, faced with lackluster sales of the QNX slate. The rumor comes from Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh, BGR reports, who cites unnamed sources at Quanta, RIM's manufacturing partner, for the intel. Although Quanta had already confirmed that PlayBook production had been scaled back, this is the first sign that RIM may be rethinking its entire tablet strategy.
Update: RIM has called Vinh's checks on the supply chain "pure fiction"; more after the cut
"While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook," Vinh wrote, "our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet." Suggestions had already been made that RIM could have as many as 800,000 PlayBook units stockpiled, after sales of the 7-inch tablet had fallen well short of expectations for two quarters running.
In Q2 2011, the company shipped a mere 200,000, down considerable from the 500,000 units shipped in Q1 2011. RIM has already slashed PlayBook pricing by $200 earlier this week, but is presumed to be feeling the pressure from yesterday's Amazon Kindle Fire announcement.
RIM is yet to comment on the report, though the Canadian company wouldn't be the first to quickly abandon a tablet project when initial feedback wasn't looking positive. HP killed the TouchPad after just a couple of months of sales earlier this year.
Update: According to RIM, it is "highly committed to the tablet market."