Wedbush Securities Believes RIM Will Move 450,000 PlayBooks this Spring

Posted by at 1:42 am on May 26, 2011

Wedbush Securities’ Scott Sutherland gave a poor outlook for RIM in a research note on Wednesday. Reported checks led the analyst to believe that BlackBerry PlayBook sales were likely to hit no more than 450,000 in RIM’s spring quarter, which ends this month. He saw it as part of lowered expectations and expected RIM to ship 2.3 million PlayBooks for its whole fiscal year ending next February.

He pinned some of the slump both on the need for BlackBerry Bridge to get e-mail but also on carriers themselves not properly supporting it. AT&T was still working on support, and Verizon also had yet to sign on. Without it, users have to rely on the web to get e-mail, contacts, and calendars, even if they already had a BlackBerry phone.

The estimates still led Sutherland to suspect that RIM might outsell the Motorola Xoom. Motorola has said it would ship more than the 250,000 Xooms it managed in the first month of sales, but it didn’t say how many. Google could see it as a blow since it wouldn’t have the advantage of a halo tablet to drive sales in the US much like it did with the original Motorola Droid in fall 2009.

Analyst checks are difficult to gauge and are only sometimes precise, but they can give an indication of early reactions from the public and confidence in the company’s direction. Officially, RIM has rejected talk of low sales but has declined to quantify data until its quarterly results on June 16.

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