According to Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu, RIM may be forced to delay the release of its first tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook. Wu claims he is hearing that the PlayBook “needs to improve its relatively poor battery life of a few hours compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for [Apple’s] iPad.” As a result, Wu writes, the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook may be delayed until May, 2011. Wu notes that the cause of the battery issues may stem from the fact that QNX, the PlayBook’s operating system, was designed for use in scenarios where battery life is not an issue — such as in automobiles. RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie stated last month that the PlayBook would launch in the first quarter of 2011, with a price tag under $500.
We ran an exhaustive video preview of the BlackBerry PlayBook earlier this month, and called the PlayBook experience as it stands now “fluid, quick, and downright impressive.” With Apple’s iPad 2 and several Android tablets set to launch over the course of the first quarter, however, sales of the BlackBerry PlayBook could be negatively impacted should RIM be forced to delay the tablet’s launch until the second quarter.