Research in Motion is all set to launch the PlayBook on the 19th of April, though it now seems evident we shouldn’t have been kept waiting so long to lay our hands on this wonderful PlayBook tablet PC. Believe it or not, Apple had a lot to do with the delay. Inadvertent though it might be, it’s a matter of serious debate if Apple is really lamenting the way things have worked out in the last few weeks.
It all started with an acute shortage of touch panels, which again can be attributed to a sharp increase in consumer preference for tablet PCs. Obviously, touchscreen manufacturers have been caught off guard while Apple, making good use of its superior economic clout, contracted for most of the touch panels that manufacturers were able to produce, leaving precious little for all the others to purchase. While the iPad and iPad 2 have been selling in millions, all the other tablets now available, like the Galaxy Tab and the XOOM along with the vast plethora of other Android tablets, require to a sizable amount of touch panels as well.
As a result of all this, RIM had no other choice but to push back the launch of the PlayBook by about a month. However, this isn’t the first time the PlayBook has suffered a delay as it changed its chipset partner mid way while the tablet was still under development. So while Marvell was earlier contracted to supply the PlayBook’s processors, RIM later found favor with the 1 GHz Dual Core OMAP4430 processor from Texas Instruments. Not a bad move it now seems, though that added 6 months to the development time. The one month’s delay is also being attributed to the extensive software testing that the PlayBook underwent.
In the meantime, RIM’s development partners such as Quanta Computer and Foxlink are supplying the connector for the PlayBook and seeing a big opportunity in the PlayBook order. Quanta is already in the process of ramping up production to make the most of the PlayBook order. Also, it is fair to note that RIM wanted the device to launch in the second quarter of the year in order to boost their profits.