With a little more than a week's worth of sales figures to analyze, mega electronics retailer Best Buy
said that BlackBerry PlayBook
tablet PC sales have so far been much higher than expected. Whether or not Best Buy is feigning surprise to boost consumer confidence is hard to tell since the chain didn't release any figures, but assuming Best Buy is being sincere, then it would appear that early mixed reviews haven't scared customers away from the PlayBook.
"Best Buy has had great success selling BlackBerry smartphones in North America, so our sales expectations for the BlackBerry PlayBook were very high," Best Buy said in a statement. "To date, we have far exceeded those expectations and we're finding that customers are even more interested in purchasing once they've tested the PlayBook in the store."
Maybe getting customers to spend a little hands-on time with the device is the key to moving units off the shelves and out the door. We, along with everyone else, had high hopes for RIM's PlayBook, but the device has been panned by several critics for the lack of native email support and contacts. To use those features, PlayBook owners must also have a BlackBerry smartphone on hand, at least until RIM updates the device.
The general consensus seems to be that RIM rushed the PlayBook to market before it was fully baked. Even still, RIM's strong brand recognition, particularly among the corporate market, along with the PlayBook's overall performance probably did lead to better-than-expected sales, particularly if Best Buy stores are actively encouraging tablet shoppers to spend some hands-on time with the 7-inch device.