There are still three months to go but we're fairly confident the BlackBerry PlayBook will feature high on the list of 2011's biggest disappointments – and we can't imagine too many people disagreeing.
But RIM has stepped in to squash fast-spreading rumours that it's planning to scrap the slate altogether, labelling such speculation as nothing more than “fiction”.
Still, as far as fiction goes, it's pretty believable fiction. It all stems from news that manufacturing partner Quanta has been forced to sack more than 1,000 production workers from a plant focused on making the PlayBook.
That is in line with comments made by RIM itself in its recent earnings call that it would be easing off production to deal with an oversupply of PlayBooks (the result of poor sales, naturally, though the company didn't dwell too long on that side of things).
But Collins Stewart semiconductor analyst John Vihn has claimed there's far more to this than just an alignment of stock.
“We believe RIM has stopped production of its PlayBook and is actively considering exiting the tablet market,” he reckons.
“While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook, our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet. Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIM has canceled development of additional tablet projects.”
RIM hasn't taken long to deny the story, however. “RIM doesn’t typically comment on rumours,” it revealed, commenting on the rumour, “but any suggestion that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued is pure fiction. RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market.”
Wonder if that statement was penned before the Amazon Kindle Fire's unveiling...