In a note to investors Tuesday morning, RBC Capital Markets GM Mike Abramsky suggests that RIM may sell 6 million BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the device’s first year of availability. In an independent survey of 1,100 consumers conducted after the Consumer Electronics Show in January, RBC found that 6% of respondents were likely to purchase the BlackBerry PlayBook once it comes available. This represents almost 50% of the interest shown in the iPad ahead of launch, according to a similar RBC survey. The firm’s data shows that the PlayBook is appealing to early adopters and power users, and key areas of interest compared to Apple’s iPad include the 7-inch form factor, impressive specs, multitasking capabilities, speed and power, the BlackBerry brand and the security features. As a result of the strong buying intentions revealed by its survey, RBC contends that the PlayBook could sell 4 million units in the 2011 calendar year and 6 million units in its first 12 months of availability. The firm’s new sales estimates are significantly higher than Wall Street’s consensus of 2-3 million units in the 2011 calendar year. RBC expects the Wi-Fi-only version of the BlackBerry PlayBook to launch in mid-March at a price point between $399 and $449, with 3G and 4G versions to follow this summer. The firm also reiterated its price target of $90 for RIM’s stock.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than a decade, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.