Technology Science - RIM readies for global PlayBook launch

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Research In Motion says it will launch its PlayBook tablet device in another 16 international markets over the next 30 days, including India, Britain, Germany and Hong Kong.

Though still a force with business customers, Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM has been criticized for being too slow to react in the consumer space. The company launched the PlayBook in North America in April, after rival Apple Inc. had already released two versions of their iPad device.

In addition to some mediocre reviews for the device, the company had to deal with the fallout of about 1000 of the devices being recalled from store shelves due to defective operating systems. The global PlayBook launch will be closely watched by analysts looking for a smoother rollout internationally.

RIM has yet to reveal how many PlayBooks it sold this quarter, but an analyst report Friday pegged it at something in the range of 500,000. In March, Apple said it sold 4.69 million iPad 2's during the first quarter, and 25 million in total.

RIM is finding its margins squeezed in the Western world, but developing markets are a huge growth area for RIM. The company declined to reveal pricing options in announcing the global rollout Friday.

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