In a move that's likely going to have users on both sides of the brands setting down their cups of beer and adding a little vodka, Research in Motion's BlackBerry Playbook has been dropped from Sprint's plans to carry the device with WiMAX. The PlayBook now has not secured deals for carrying by and of the largest three mobile carriers in the United States, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless. RIM will now have to market and bear the full burden of device development including support for application developers all on its own - not the most positive situation while other top-name brands have carrier supported tablets of their own.
Sprint promised RIM in January that it would sell a WiMAX version of the PlayBook this summer on its fourth-generation network, while this week the group notes that those plans have been stopped because since January the market has become too crowded. Paget Alves of Sprint's business markets group noted the following on why the tablet just won't succeed:
“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.”
RIM launched the playbook back in April to some slightly stale reviews and a general "meh" temperature of response from the public. RIM reported that it shipped around 500,000 of the Wi-Fi only versions of the tablet in the first quarter of 2012 total. Motorola, on the other hand, sold 440,000 XOOM Android tablets during essentially the same period while Apple reported its sales of the industry leading iPad at 9.3 million shipments.
Sprint continues to sell the Wi-Fi version of the PlayBook for $499.99 and Sprint notes that the decision not to carry a WiMAX version of the tablet “has no impact on our relationship with RIM.” What do you think, ladies and gentlemen? No carriers for the PlayBook - still a worthy investment? Do you have a PlayBook? Do you love it?