back to article SHOCK: RIM PlayBook outsells Apple iPad

Canadian gadget emporium Future Shop sold more BlackBerry PlayBooks than iPads last week, indicating the end of Apple's dominance or at least lending some succour to RIM's investors. The retail chain, which has 145 branches across Canada, isn't saying how many of either tablet it has sold, but tweeted its congratulations to …


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  1. c4m1k4z3

    Vodka sales up in Russia compared to rest of world


    1. stanimir

      Re: Vodka sales up in Russia compared to rest of world

      Contrary on the popular belief, Vodka IS NOT a Russian drink. Also, there are at least 3 main vodka styles (one being Russian, though)

      1. Vic

        Re: Vodka sales up in Russia compared to rest of world

        > Contrary on the popular belief, Vodka IS NOT a Russian drink.

        Isn't it? Where's it from, then?

        Because it's a Russian word - it means "little water".


        1. stanimir

          Re: Vodka sales up in Russia compared to rest of world

          ...and actually I can speak Russian (albeit not so well) but the origin of the word is Polish.... so is the drink. The root is slavic - "voda"=water in most slavic languages. "водочка" means little/small water, "vodka" not so much.

          Тhis is a quote from wikipedia and it's correct.

          The word "vodka" was recorded for the first time in 1405 in Akta Grodzkie, the court documents from the Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland.

          Btw, the other 2 main styles of Vodka are Polish and Western ones.

          1. Vic

            Re: Vodka sales up in Russia compared to rest of world

            > "vodka" not so much.

            It does in Russian. I don't speak any other slavic languages, so I can't comment.


  2. Steve Todd

    You missed the fact

    That the iPad 3 is being launched this week so sales are down pending details of the new model. The fact that RIM are losing money on each PlayBook sold won't be much consolation either.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge

    Excuses, excuses.

    Yes you can come up with all the reasons in the world for this, but only one actually matters.

    That'll be the one where buying the RIM device saves you over 400 bucks. Now I am sure that the iPad may well be the better of the two, but three-times-as-much better? Not a chance......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If the iPad does what you want, in the way you want it, and the Playbook doesn't then all the X-times-better-or-worse in the world - which probably means raw hardware - won't make any difference.

      I don't know about you, but my time is worth more than that not spent finding workarounds, coping with sub-par UXs, or praying every morning that the company won't fold the whole thing and kill any chance of fixing its problems. I do enough of that on my other machines.

      But if you put cost difference above all else then you should get the Playbook. But make it quick, the current iPad is coming down in price in 2 days and eroding that difference :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excuses, excuses.

      Actually the ipad 2 is not a better device, almost everything about the playbook is better. Maybe with the ipad 3 Apple will finally catch up to the year old playbook but I doubt they will match the price.

      1. the-it-slayer

        Re: Excuses, excuses.

        Downvoted just because you're anon and given yourself a distortion reality field where everyone is using Playbook's in 2012. Sheeeeeesh.

        Anyway, article is wasted 5 minutes of my life.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Excuses, excuses.

          I never claimed anything about playbook usage, but if you look at the raw capabilities of both devices the playbook is the clear winner, unless you yourself are stuck in the Apple reality distortion fields.

          The playbook has far superior cameras both front and back, higher pixel density screen, full multitasking, 1080p HDMI out without the need for an over priced dongle, built in CIFS server making it trivial to transfer content to and from the playbook with no additional software required, more responsive UI, twice the ram (maybe that's why multitasking on the ipad is so limited), flash support giving you the full desktop web experience on most websites without the need for a special app, the most compatible HTML 5 tablet browser, real GPS (the ipad only has assisted GPS and only on the 3G model)

          What does the ipad have? a bigger screen, which for me is a negative. the 7" screen can fit in my jacket pocket, try that with an ipad.

          As for apps there are plenty available, most major apps are there. And now that it can also run Android apps it will also have access to many of the same crappy apps that the other platforms have.

          If you're going to downvote then at least explain what the ipad does better, if you can find something :)

          1. Franklin

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            "if you look at the raw capabilities of both devices the playbook is the clear winner..."

            Except among hardcore geeks, who make up only a very small percentage of the buying public, tech specs do not a desirable product make. Sadly, relatively few geeks actually realize that.

            Tech specs are only one part of the equation, and honestly, for most folks, not necessarily even the most important part. This is part of the reason geeks shouldn't be allowed to do design.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            So Assisted GPS is not real GPS?

            Get real. Read up before posting rubbish.

            1. Blank Reg

              Re: Excuses, excuses.

              Does the ipad actually have a GPS chip? They list A-GPS and that only on the 3G model. A-GPS can be implemented solely using cellular or along with an actual GPS receiver. The fact that it is only available on the 3G model makes it likely that it doesn't have a GPS receiver and relies only on the cellular network for positioning data.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            Playbook owner here, yes it's a great device.

            Agree on most parts of you comment, except:

            - aGPS is better than normal non assisted GPS as it is, well, assisted

            - Pixel density is marketing hype and depends on how far away you hold the device

            My fanboi friend, when I showed him the playbook with its standard HDMI output said 'oh, my iPad can do that as well' and I said, 'yeah, but with a crappy adaptor that you have to buy', he didn't seem to bothered, except he did say he actually bought two adaptors, because the first one he bought didn't work?!?

            / cool story bro

          4. scarface68

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            Name one thing the ipad does better? Umm ok. The OS doesn't make me feel like a dog with bricks tied to its head.

          5. adrian727

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            As a playbook user, using playbook is a pain without staple apps like free messenger(any kind of) and a working PDF reader(the included doesn't support bookmarks and have no memory of the page you last read when closed)

          6. poeg

            Re: Excuses, excuses.

            Bought 3 of them for my kids, put the lot in Otterboxes and they ended up the only ones looking up coral and shells on the resort's wifi beach side in Playa del Carmen. The did need a good vacuuming at the end of the week but aside from that, magic.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @the-it-slayer Re: Excuses, excuses.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    BMW M5 outsells Aston Martin DB9

  5. David 14

    US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

    That seems to be a good headline for the comment in this story about people leaving BlackBerry handsets for iPhones... it is amazing to me that any government agency would adopt an iPhone or an Android phone over a BlackBerry if you are talking about corporate data!

    I understand the need to support the desires of the employees to want to use their consumer devices... but I challenge you to count the number of stories of security issues on iOS and Android handsets over the last year... GPS tracking, remote hijacking, etc, etc.

    BlackBerry, in the same timeframe has had a relatively short service outage that delayed delivery of emails and brought down the blackberry-only secure IM feature of BBM... but in reality, this outage seems to me to be far less intrusive for enterprise (BES Server) customers than the media portrayed.

    I like my BlackBerry, I like the fact that BlackBerry does operate in a country that (for the time being) does not require backdoors for "government" watchdogs, and I like the fact that the device is still primarily about what I need to do for business. It is efficient but feature-rich where it counts.

    Oh - and the Playbook.... it follow the same line as the handsets... simply works. And since the new OS, works very well... and I could care less about "native email"... actually have not even configured it ... the BlackBerry Bridge is a much better solution for me!

    My $0.02

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @David 14 I agree actually, you have a point.

      I run an Android mob personally but I have to say that with many of the issues raised this year regarding both Android and iOS as far as privacy and security is concerned one is obliged to wonder. I certainly think that the authorities and enterprise should take a closer look at these issues and insist that both Cupertino and Mountain View raise their game. That would be to the benefit of both corporate and national security. Furthermore we might get improved security and privacy as well - well one can always hope, although I freely admit that I am not holding my breath!

    2. Henry Blackman

      Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

      Where does email go before it arrives on your BB? Canada. Whilst surely not a big worry in terms on global threats, the fact it is in someone else's hands at all worries me. Single point of failure beyond my control.., no thanks.

      1. imaginarynumber

        Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...


        So you would prefer your email to take 15 unencrypted hops instead? Erm... that would be an additional 14 points of (potential) failure...

        1. David 14

          Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

          Blackberry communications are fully encrypted between the BES server and your blackberry phone... the only unencrypted transmission ocurrs as part of the standard SMTP mail interchange.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

        @Henry Blackman; do some reading. As any reader of El Reg should know emails arriving on your corporate blackberry were encrypted when they left your company email server, thanks to the way that BES works. So even if BB's servers were compromised the emails themselves aren't available to a hacker/government.

        And so far as availability is concerned, RIM did have one little outage, but iPhones have one every afternoon when their battery goes flat.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

          "every afternoon" is an exaggeration. every evening, on the train home, is fairer. That said, it does a hell of a lot more which is why it goes flat. If I don't use it as a "computer" it easily lasts all day.

        2. Andy ORourke

          Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

          I must have missed that feature on my iPhone (and iPad) where the battery goes flat every afternoon, I can get 2 days out of my iPhone if I'm careful, no worries (Like I did when I did a 2 day safari round the Sahara desert and forgot to take any form of charger with me. Took photos, made call, checked emails, just kept an eye out for power draining stuff, GPS, WiFi etc)

          I guess I musn't use mine to it's full potential, the only time I've noticed a considerable drain on the battery is when I use the GPS, since I don't use it all the time I just turn it off until I need it - Simples

          Oh, I know I'll get downvoted for saying something positive about apple products since I'm clearly a deluded fanboi or a corporate shill but seriously, my phone and tablet do exactly what i want them to do, if yours does the same for you then that's great.

          I'm not here to tell you something is better than something else, that's all down to personal preference right?

        3. poeg

          Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

          Seen the IT iPhanboys gone wild at a mine site I work and their 20 litre box box full of dead iPhone 4s too. They've been sold as a business phone with no business being on the job site. Got the wife one and all the daughters too but as for myself, I can't afford having to rely on one. The idiots at RIM need to quit trying to compete with the swiss army phones and focus on just making the best knife on the planet.

      3. David 14

        Re: US Government Agencies Ignore Security Threats...

        They may route through one of several RIM NOCs, depending on your location. But, the email data is encrypted through the process and is not available even to RIM...... a heck of a lot better than regular SMTP, which is as insecure as it gets.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Toxic Asset Purge with an AI Splurge

    Do RIM provide Killer Customer Apps for the OS? They are a Great Loss Leader with Pleasure Teasure Seekers. A Stairway to Heaven is Hedonism. I wonder if that is Concept which Bamboozles Virtual Machinery and SMART Quantum Funding Algorithms?

    What Delivers Future Universal Narrative is the Question left here?

    1. DanceMan

      Re: amanfrom Mars1

      Thank you Gabby, for that fine piece of commentard gibberish!

  7. John Lilburne

    Dunno about better or worse but ...

    ... a week last Friday some 15 employees from our company went down to the PC world and picked up a playbook. This week 1 unopened playbook is being touted around the company for resale and 3 used but unwanted iPads.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

    I keep reading such announcements but I never seem to read about the reasons. If you have a large infrastructure based on Blackberry (with BES in the backend and all that), what are the reasons for change? This is not a value judgement -- I am curious from a systems perspective.

    1. Henry Blackman

      Re: Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

      Cost saving alone from the removal of BES must be worth it. ActiveSync works perfectly and is included in Exchange CALs.

      1. Aqua Marina

        @ Henry Blackman

        "Cost saving alone from the removal of BES must be worth it."

        BES and the first 75 licenses is free. That pretty much covers 99.% of companies out there using mobile comms.

        "ActiveSync works perfectly"

        Just not securely. Last time I looked at it

        a) it required Outlook Web Access to be available

        b) I was able to jailbreak the Iphone, and extract the password in plaintext by following this

        c) I then logged into Outlook Web Access using the plaintext login details I'd just extracted.

        I don't know if Apple patched this in the year since I last tried, but having Outlook Web Access would be a big NO to any company that had implemented BES because it's security accreditations were required.

    2. sleepy

      Re: Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

      If you don't want employees, you don't want Blackberry or iPhone. But if you want employees and employees want iPhone, iPhone is what you'll have to offer. And if you're deploying corporate web apps for use on tablets (equals, more or less, iPads), then they'll work identically on iPhones.

      Staff want it, and the total ecosystem is superior.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

        "Staff want it, and the total ecosystem is superior."

        I have worked in places where *every* engineer wanted to use Unix (or Unix-like) systems but the bean-counters forbade it. That argument doesn't wash.

        1. Chris 3

          Re: Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

          You misunderstand. It doesn't matter what an engineer wants. It matters what the CEO, COO and CEFO want.

          1. bazza Silver badge

            Re: Why are they dumping Blackberries for Iphones?

            @Chris 3; indeed, and the reason they want iPhones is because they've fallen for the Apple PR about "just working" and "secure". Now really they should be hard nosed unemotional decision makers who carefully weigh up decisions before making them. Questions like "are my company communications secure" should float across their minds. Getting decisions like that wrong is potentially a company-killer these days. Pandering to the whims of staff isn't going to look so clever when your company's intellectual property becomes public because some employee jailbroke their iphone or android and got infected with a dodgy app.

  9. Nutsfamily
    Thumb Down


    I am from Canada.

    Futureshop is a PC centric store.

    The staff know VERY little with respect to anything Apple.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Re: Misleading

      I am from Canada, too. Futureshop is a "I will sell you the most expensive gizmo I can because I'm on commission" shop.

      The staff knows very little with respect to anything, period.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misleading

      PC-centric my arse. They have tons of Apple crap; in fact I bought the wife's iPod Jumbo there. The staff don't know any more about PCs than they know about Apple crap; Not that that's relevant, as Playbooks aren't PCs and presumably, as Apple crap 'just works,' one wouldn't need to know anything about it anyway. I'm pretty condfident that if they were to steer a punter either way (unlikely), it'd be in favour of the more ridiculously expensive item, earning themselves more commission to spend on hair gel.

    3. poeg

      Re: Misleading

      What's to know not covered in the enormous amount of iLitterature and iAdverts plastered about the store? Isn't the entire notion of the iPad simplicity? At the very least that's its marketing angle.

      Oh and as for Mac itself, I still have every one I bought boxed and put away since 1989, my Pismo on the shelf above my desk and a Macbook Air on the kitchen table. Now there's a thing of beauty and every bit the gem my Pismo was in its day. So not a hater typing away but certainly a realist.

  10. halon1301

    Don't take the sales figures too seriously........

    "It's also worth remembering that RIM is a Canadian company; it has a presence in the country that engenders some nationalistic appeal, so Canadian sales shouldn't be taken too seriously."

    If thats the case, then apple's sales in the US should not be taken too seriously because they're an american company and it may engender some nationalistic appeal.

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Don't take the sales figures too seriously........

      Yes indeed!

      In fact looking at the USA for any kind of mobile phone stats is grossly misleading. They'd hardly heard of Nokia before it got taken over by Elop and assimilated into the MS collective.

      Have they even sorted out the cross network SMS interconnects yet? Last time I tried to text a friend in FL it never arrived, yet I can text friends in every country in Europe, Australia and Russia without any problems what so ever - well, unless they have a blackberry, then it's always better to email. In fact bad SMS interconnects *are* the reason the blackberry became so dominant. Whilst the rest of the world was happily using SMS to send short messages, the only way you could do this reliably in the US was to send an email.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice going RIM

    At the estimated $50-75 you lose on every Playbook sale, if you match Apple's last quarter iPad volumes, you'll lose seven hundred and seventy million dollars.

    I expect they can make that up in app sales, or something...

  12. scifidale

    RIM have been unable/unwilling to keep up with consumerization within IT, if you think about blackberry UI and an android/apple/wp7 UI which one is going to get picked up by a user, plus RIM devices always carry a few quirks that catch staff out but are well known to helpdesks. I used to love blackberrys but the fact that the UI and featureset on a blackberry is practically identical to how they were 5 or more years ago and activesync does what most companies need makes puts them on very shakey ground indeed.

  13. Lance 3


    "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives just told Politico magazine it plans to swap out 3,800 of them, mainly for iPhones."

    The real reason is quite simple, the iPhonies have much better POS apps. Selling those guns to Mexico need to be made as easy of possible.

    1. poeg

      Re: BATF


  14. Synthmeister


    1. Everyone in the world knows that the iPad 3 is coming out this week--of course iPad sales are slow. If the Playbook had outsold the iPad for a full quarter--instead of a week--that might be a little different.

    2. PlayBook was supposed to sell for $499 not $199. RIM is taking a complete bath on this device. Selling more of these gizmos will help RIM go bankrupt sooner rather than later. They have Osborned themselves into a corner by publicizing their QNX future, yet having no phones to run it with yet. Their QNX tablet aspirations are a waste of time without a QNX phone.

    I not arguing that iPad is better or not, RIM simply doesn't have a means of subsidizing the Playbook like this long term like Amazon can subsidize the Kindle.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Doh!

      I would not be so sure that they are subsidising PlayBook. Sure they had to write off R & D cost, but this is one off, for this model.

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Doh!

      @synthmeister, I think you're right about RIM having osborned themselves, but I'm not sure they had much choice. If they'd kept quiet about their plans then it would have looked like they didn't care about the smartphone revolution. That would have raised questions about the long term and pushed buyers toward other platforms that were moving forward. That would probably have been worse.

      As it is I think RIM have bravely chosen what will be an excellent technical solution (the Playbook really is quite good), but will require a lot of hard work to get people to understand and want the benefits. They could have chosen to do something clunky (ie squeezing a desktop OS onto a mobile platform like Android and iOS) but that would have lessened the technical value of their offering.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Doh!

        Having said that (see my post above), RIM's existing phones are pretty smart already. QNX is necessary to give them a way ahead, and presumably their existing bespoke OS is at a dead end, but it does run alps and do some clever messaging.

        1. Andy Christ

          Does run alps?

          Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  15. Synthmeister


    RIM is absolutely taking a bath on the Playbook. RIM originally sold the PlayBook for $499, $599, or $699, depending on the onboard storage. Then they slashed all models to $299, then they slashed it again to $199, 249 and 299. By all accounts the build quality is much higher than the Kindle ($199 only 8GB) and most everyone says that Amazon is barely breaking even on the Kindle at best.

    1. poeg

      Re: Absolutely

      They are most certainly NOT merely breaking even on the Kindle. Similar specs from start-up companies in India are at a cost of $75 American with stripped down versions hitting government contracts at $60 American in lots of 10,000. Amazon won't admit digital publishing has pushed profits into the stratosphere let alone that selling their delivery system is also profitable. People might just come off the rails and demand that price reduction on books promised by digital publishing initially.

  16. Synthmeister


    RIM can’t catch a break. Not only is the company coping with dismal PlayBook tablet sales, it’s also taking a near half-billion-dollar hit for sitting inventory that must now be sold at rock-bottom prices.

    RIM announced on Friday that the company wouldn’t be meeting its financial targets for the year, primarily due to the unsuccessful performance of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. It pushed 150,000 units this quarter, compared with 250,000 last quarter, and 500,000 in the first quarter of the year.

    The company is offering the troubled tablet for dramatically discounted prices through Dec. 3. Prices were slashed $300 across the product line-up, and quickly sold out at retailers like Best Buy by last week’s Black Friday. Nonetheless, RIM announced today that it’s recognizing “a pre-tax provision in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 of approximately $485 million, $360 million after tax, related to its inventory valuation of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.”

  17. JeffyPooh

    $100 off iPads right now!!!

    "...the cheapest iPad is three times the price of a PlayBook (619 Canadian dollars..."

    Cheapest iPad 2 is Cdn $519. Not $619.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIM are selling these play books at a loss - Amazon (who sell more Android tablets) said they were selling the Fire at a small loss / break even - so RIM with lower volumes etc. certainly will be.

    At least Amazon hope to sell you 'content' - RIM are just hoping to clear warehouses stacked out with Playbooks they could only shift at a loss. Remember HP and their Tablet - history repeating itself.

    Don't be surprised if the Playbook is dead in 6-12 months and RIM 12-18 months after that - well that or they get bought up by someone...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP RIM.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iPad sales will be down this week as the world and his dog are waiting for the iPad 3 now - not much of a story really. Same as people going on about iPhone sales down weeks before the iPhone 4S was released then lo-and-behold sales are massively up next period.

    People are only buying the Playbook as it's cheap but probably being sold at a loss. RIM need to shift the excess inventory before it's worthless and probably making zero on it / taking a loss. great marketing.

  21. James 100

    In related news, I can run faster than Bolt ... when he's walking round the supermarket with a trolley, if I take performance enhancing drugs. iPad sales are pretty much on hold right now because everyone knows the next version comes out this month - only an idiot or someone in a hurry would buy an iPad 2 right now - and Playbook has the home-field advantage, as well as being less than half the price.

    RIM have already eaten a nine figure loss on their tablet attempt, and only just managed to give it an email client - which still lacks support for their own proprietary email service! So much for their one and only "selling point" of vendor lockin.

    The multi-day outage ruled out ever using a BB myself; the absurd straw man about "better to route encrypted traffic through RIM servers than unencrypted" (when we can all use encrypted email anyway: it's not the 90s any more!) doesn't exactly boost confidence in those people's opinion about BB's claimed security. Remote wipe, wipe on password failure, encrypted storage and network traffic, password complexity rules - I'm not seeing anything that's exclusive to RIM's offering there.

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