RIM calls report of PlayBook's demise 'pure fiction'

Rebuts analyst who said RIM planned to abandon the tablet business

Research in Motion said Thursday that it remains committed to the PlayBook tablet and the tablet market, discounting an analyst's report that said the death of the device is imminent.

"Rumors suggesting that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued are pure fiction ," RIM spokeswoman Marisa Conway said in an email to Reuters. "RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market and the future of QNX in its platform."

QNX is the operating system that runs PlayBook and is set to become the next major OS in RIM's smartphone line.

RIM's statement came after Collins Stewart analyst John Vihn said in a note: "We believe RIM has stopped production of its PlayBook and is actively considering exiting the tablet market."

RIM two weeks ago had said it planned to show undated software for the PlayBook at its October analyst conference. The updates would allow email to run natively in the device, among other things.

Vihn's downbeat prediction came after RIM reported that PlayBook sales are on a downward spiral, with 200,000 devices shipped in the second quarter after 500,000 shipped in the first. And the device was only available for two months in the first fiscal period.

Vihn's note on PlayBook made sense to many observers, given the decline in PlayBook shipments and the recent layoff of workers at a Quanta Computer factory that produced the tablets.

Also, Hewlett-Packard last month announced plans to kill the TouchPad it had started selling in July.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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