updated 11:30 am EDT, Wed April 20, 2011
RBC, Jefferies say 50K BlackBerry PlayBooks moved
RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky and Jeffries & Co. analyst Peter Misek estimated Wednesday that RIM had sold about 50,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets on its first day. Checks by Abramsky at about 70 different participating stores, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Staples, showed sell-outs at about 11 percent of shops. These included the month of pre-orders, Abramsky said.
He also investigated 180 Best Buy stores online and found some were listed out of stock. About 91 percent of the stores had no 64GB models, while 87 percent were out of 32GB versions and 13 percent had no 16GB versions. The store check was calculated separately since some if not most of the stores might not have had one or both of the high capacity models.
The RBC analyst extrapolated to estimate that RIM would ship a total of 500,000 tablets in its spring quarter.
Misek was mostly in agreement and estimated about 45,000 units sold after checks at Best Buy and Staples, about 20,000 of which were at retail and 25,000 through pre-orders. He may have corroborated Abramsky's online checks as he estimated that most of the sales were for the 32GB and 64GB versions. Corporate sales may have been higher, he added.
The performance if borne out could lead to a modest but qualified success. Both suspected that RIM may have outsold lackluster Xoom sales both on the first day and in their respective quarters. While explanations weren't complete, the lower practical starting price and the emphasis on no-commitment Wi-Fi versions first may have played a significant part. Some may also have been drawn to a relatively good Flash implementation and overall speed, Misek said.
Misek added that he didn't expect RIM to seriously challenge the iPad 2. "We like the Playbook but cannot see giving up our iPad 2 for it," he elaborated. "We believe it will capture a slice of the market but [the] iPad will be the majority."