RIM's PlayBook failing to make inroads at AT&T, Verizon
One month after launching its highly anticipated PlayBook tablet, Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is still struggling to get U.S. operator support for the device. The BlackBerry maker said in March that it expected Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) to join Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) this summer as distribution partners for the device. Now that strategy seems to be in question.
AT&T Mobility still has not approved the BlackBerry Bridge app that enables BlackBerry smartphones to connect the PlayBook to AT&T's wireless network. And Verizon Wireless remains undecided on whether it will sell the device through its channels.
According to the Wall Street Journal, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said the company is still evaluating whether the Bridge feature should trigger a tethering charge. "The principle is to make sure [BlackBerry Bridge] works well for our customers and whether it should be considered tethering," Siegel said.
Earlier this month, Sprint Nextel spokesman Mark Elliott told FierceWireless that Sprint has not yet announced an availability date for the Wi-Fi version of the BlackBerry PlayBook. The company also has said it will launch a 4G version of the PlayBook this summer, but has not provided a specific release date. Sprint was the first U.S. operator to announce it will carry the BlackBerry PlayBook.
RIM is currently selling a Wi-Fi-only version of the tablet through numerous retailers in the U.S. and Canada, including Best Buy, Office Depot and OfficeMax.
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
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