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 15 years, 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 in the US and around the world. 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.