RIM recalls about 1,000 PlayBook tablets

Says software on some tablet won't load at set-up

Research in Motion said it has recalled an estimated 1,000 PlayBook tablets, indicating a small number had reached customers who were unable to properly load software at setup.

Engadget first reported that the group of faulty PlayBooks had been shipped to Staples Inc.; RIM later confirmed the recall.

RIM said most of the problem devices were still in warehouses or stores and hadn't reached customers. RIM said it will replace the affected devices and told customers who had received one to contact RIM for assistance.

The 7-in. PlayBook has not been perceived as a device that would outsell the iPad or iPad 2 tablets, but is expected to draw greater interest from corporate IT and business users of BlackBerry smartphones.

Still, the PlayBook got lukewarm reviews when introduced April 19, partly because it doesn't have natively installed email, requiring users to rely on Web email or a Bluetooth tether to a BlackBerry smartphone already connected to corporate email through the BlackBerry Enterprise Server. RIM was also generally criticized for taking so long to launch the tablet, first unveiling it last fall.

Late last month, RIM warned its first quarter results would be lower than expected and said smartphone launches would be later than expected. Its stock has dropped in recent weeks. First quarter results are due out June 16.

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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