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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Why the iPad 2 and not the PlayBook?

We've been getting in a lot of requests to explain why we haven't started selling the BlackBerry PlayBook yet when we didn't hesitate in launching the iPad 2 here shortly after it's launch in the United States.

There are a few simple reasons for this that I felt needed explaining:

  1. Supply & Demand - The original iPad and the iPad 2 were so much in demand that we'd never seen so many lining up and waiting for it before.  It was this, coupled with the fact that it was never clear when the Apple would be officially releasing the iPad here that made us start marketing those devices earlier.  The original iPad was officially launched in the UAE in January 2011 whereas there is no announcement yet as to when we can expect to see the iPad 2 launched here.  In the case of the PlayBook we've received an indication up front from RIM of when we see the devices here officially and thus felt it was better to wait it out.  
  2. Service and Warranty Support - In the case of the iPad, broadly speaking, it was similar to the iPhone in several aspects whereby we were more comfortable to support the warranty.  The operating system software, the hardware components, etc. were not too different to what we'd seen on earlier iPhone's.  In the case of the PlayBook, the hardware and operating system software are both new.  As members of the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme (DSES), we're bound to adopt certain service standards and where we weren't confident of this, we didn't want to take a chance.  Since we know RIM is launching the PlayBook here in a matter of weeks, we didn't mind waiting for the official support channels to open up to back us and our customers up.
RIM and the BlackBerry brand have had their share of brand-bashing of late.  Our decision had nothing to do with this and it's been commercial and service decisions that have dictated our stand on this thus far.  We hope that when the BlackBerry PlayBook is indeed launched here, it'll do well and more Apps should be available hopefully sooner rather than later.  The fact is that RIM has been extremely open in their communication with us as retail partners on when we can expect products and considering their timeline was reasonable, we decided to wait.  We just hope many of you will as well.

Update - 28 April, 2011: Apple announced a few hours after this post was issued yesterday that the Apple iPad 2 will be coming to the UAE this Friday, April 29, 2011.  The only difference here has been that with Apple, we've come to know fairly late on when they're going officially launch the iPad 2 whereas with RIM, they've told us upfront prior to release, when we can expect the PlayBook here.  As a consumer or as a retailer, I'm sure getting advanced information like this certainly helps us more in terms of deciding where we want to buy from and if we're prepared to wait for official release products.  We just hope all manufacturers were as transparent always.

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics