How many Playbooks has RIM sold?

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Will RIM release sales figures for The BlackBerry Playbook in tomorrow's Q1 conference call?

Will RIM release sales figures for The BlackBerry Playbook in tomorrow's Q1 conference call?

Waterloo’s Research in Motion (TSX:RIM) tomorrow announces results from its Q1 2011. The street expects RIM will announce $5.5 billion in revenue and $1.40 in EPS for the quarter, which ended in May.

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But the real question on Wall Street and on Bay Street right now is “will they or won’t they”? That is, will RIM provide numbers on BlackBerry Playbook sales? The company has promised a “business update” during tomorrow’s conference call to discuss the quarter, but no one is really sure if this implies detailed sales figures.

In mid-May RIM refuted a claim by Boy Genius Report report that BlackBerry PlayBook sales missed targets by over 90% at major retailer, and had ‘much higher’ return rate than the Motorola XOOM.

RIM, in response said: “The source of the reported comment is anonymous and unknown to RIM, but the comment is certainly inconsistent with the positive feedback we have received from our main retail partners. As previously indicated, RIM will provide a business update on BlackBerry PlayBook results on June 16.”

The Company also cited a note from retailer Best Buy who said they have “…had great success selling BlackBerry smartphones in North America, so our sales expectations for the BlackBerry PlayBook were very high. To date, we have far exceeded those expectations and we’re finding that customers are even more interested in purchasing once they’ve tested the PlayBook in the store.

So just how many Playbooks has RIM sold so far? Morgan Stanley pegs the number at 400,000, a number that matches CIBC analyst Todd Coupland’s figures. Coupland added that “the PlayBook is a very good product and in spite of a “sloppy launch.” PB appears to have been booking steady sales. Sales above 300,000 units are likely to be viewed as a positive.”

RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky believes RIM sold approximately 250,000 in the month after the Playbook was released April 18th. Abramsky expects the number for the quarter to come in at around 500,000.

National Bank Financial analysts Kris Thompson comes in with the same number as Abramsky, noting that “350,000 of the tablets going to business users and the rest to consumers.”

But does a so called sloppy launch doom the Playbook? Not according to Morgan Stanley, who are now projecting sales of 700,000 Playbooks in Q2 due to an international market expansion.

On June 10th, RIM said it plans to start selling its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer in 16 new markets in the next month. The Playbook will now begin selling in places such as the U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Australia.

Shares of RIM on the TSX closed today at $34.46, barely missing a fifty-two week low.

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