RIM tablet beset with battery problems?

One analyst, citing internal sources, says the new BlackBerry Playbook needs help.

By Kim Peterson Dec 29, 2010 4:13PM
RIM Playbook (© 2010 Research In Motion)Research in Motion's (RIMM) iPad killer may be suffering from battery problems, which could be the reason the company has delayed its launch, one analyst says.

The upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook from RIM has a battery that lasts only a few hours per charge, writes Shaw Wu, an analyst with Kaufman Bros. The Digital Daily blog picked up on the report.

If that's the case, the PlayBook will have a hard time making a strong run against the iPad, which can last for nearly 10 hours on one charge. Even Samsung's Galaxy Tab can go about six hours, writes John Paczkowski. Update: RIM has responded to Wu's claim. More below.

So where does this leave RIM? Back to the battery drawing board, it looks like. "From our understanding, this [is] likely why RIMM pushed out its launch to the May 2011 quarter," Wu writes in his note. Post continues after video:
One problem, he adds, is that the software platform that the PlayBook uses, QNX, was originally designed for devices like network equipment and cars where battery life isn't as much a constraint.

Paczkowski speculates that the answer here might be a bigger battery, but that's going to make the PlayBook a little bulkier and less sexy.

Wu now thinks RIM will only sell about 700,000 PlayBooks next year, a far cry from the 1 million to 8 million figure other analysts throw out, Paczkowski writes.

RIM shares don't seem to be suffering from the news, however. The stock is flat Wednesday at $58.

RIM responded late Wednesday to the issue with the following statement (hat tip Forbes):

"Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.”


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