BlackBerry tablet launches to little fanfare

The Playbook has arrived, but does anyone want to play?

Research In Motion’s PlayBook tablet computer launched in almost empty stores yesterday, unable to whip up the frenzy that accompanies the debut of anything from rival Apple.

At an Office Depot in Midtown New York, just three PlayBooks left the shelves in the 20 minutes after the store opened, while not a soul stirred outside a nearby Staples.

“It’s going to be a tough sell to the consumer,” BGC Partner analyst Colin Gillis said of the PlayBook, a sleek but flawed gadget that doesn’t yet offer the secure e-mail that is the trademark of RIM’s ubiquitous BlackBerry.

The PlayBook launch was a stark contrast to the frenzy when the iPad 2 launched a month ago; consumers lined up overnight for a first glimpse of the Apple gadget.



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