Research in Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry PlayBook tablet was launched in Malaysia on July 15, and would be sold through a partnership with local telecommunications provider Maxis.
The tablet device is now available at a retail price of RM1,599 (US$532) for the model with 16GB of storage space; RM1,899 for 32GB and RM2,199 for 64GB. Existing subscribers to Maxis’s BlackBerry service can get a unit from RM990 when they sign up for a 3GB PlayBook data.
“We have invested in the building of an entire ecosystem that supports their communications needs through providing them with the best devices, rate plans, network coverage and customer service,” Maxis chief operating officer Jean Pascal van Overbeke said at the launch event in Kuala Lumpur.
The launch of the tablet device in Malaysia follows launches in Indonesia on July 7, and in Singapore on June 23. The PlayBook’s arrival this year comes at a challenging time for the Canada-based company, which recorded revenue of US$4.9bil for its first quarter of its 2012 fiscal year, down 12% from US$5.6bil in the previous quarter, but up 16% from US$4.2bil from the previous corresponding quarter.
The company is faring better outside the US, where international revenue in the first quarter grew 67% year-over-year. During the quarter, RIM shipped 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and approximately 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.
“Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into the second quarter, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower-than-expected outlook in the second quarter,” RIM co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie said in a recent press release.
In related news, Malaysian newspaper The Star, citing sources close to the matter, reported that RIM is planning to outsource some of its production to a Flextronics facility in Seberang Perai, Penang.
Flextronics, which has headquarters in Singapore and presence in 30 countries, provides design, engineering and manufacturing services to a broad range of industries, including mobile telephony.
Quoting the same source, the newspaper also said that RIM may be exploring the possibility of setting up its own manufacturing facility in Penang.
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