Did a Glass Shortage Slow the Arrival of the RIM BlackBerry Playbook Tablet?

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The end of the wait for RIM's eagerly awaited BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is coming April 19 but could the tablet have arrived sooner? Perhaps. If so, you might blame Apple, which created a touchscreen glass shortage with its iPad 2 manufacturing.

Trade magazine Digitimes reports that the reason that the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook is later this month is partly because Apple tied up the supply of touchscreen panels from various Asian suppliers.

According to Digitimes, "Sources from touch screen panel makers also pointed out that PlayBook shipments were postponed for about a month from the original schedule due to a delay in software testing as well as shortage of touch panels because Apple already booked up most of the available capacity."

The hot new iPad 2 is selling faster than expected, and faster than the first-generation iPad. Digitimes estimates that 12 million units will ship in the second quarter.

The iPad 2's impact extends beyond other tablets to the whole laptop category, in which sales growth stopped dead in early 2011.

The PlayBook will run the new PlayBook Tablet OS, which is based on the QNX operating system RIM purchased. The PlayBook was first announced in late September 2010.

There definitely is interest. The RIM video for the PlayBook has more than 2.5 million views on YouTube. Take a look (audio has been disabled due to copyright restrictions):

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At a Glance
  • RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook looks promising, but the operating system's rough patches and a lack of app selection are reasons to think twice.


    • Sharp display has vivid, accurate colors
    • High-definition video playback impresses
    • Light weight makes this conducive to hold in hand


    • Initial software is buggy and lacks polish
    • No integrated e-mail, contacts, or calendaring
    • Awkwardly designed onscreen keyboard
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