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PlayBook disappoints the market

Research In Motion (RIM-T) shares fell on Tuesday, as concern over the late release date of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer prompted investors to claw back some of the stock's recent gains.

Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM unveiled the PlayBook late on Monday as a rival to Apple Inc's (AAPL-Q) pace-setting iPad, and a growing number of other devices.

While analysts lauded the PlayBook's sleekness and compact size, they said the projected release date of early 2011 would make it tougher to crack the consumer market that Apple dominates.

"If you're bullish on RIM, you'd want the tablet to come out before Christmas," said Jane Snorek, a technology analyst at First American Funds in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The market for tablets - touchscreen devices larger than a smartphone but smaller than a laptop - has gotten more congested since Apple launched the iPad in April, with Samsung and Dell (DELL-Q) showing off releases in the past two months and others expected from Hewlett-Packard (HPQ-N) and Toshiba.

Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities, also criticized the late release of the PlayBook, but said a decline in the stock was not unexpected given its strong rise in the run-up to the release.

The stock gained 7 percent in the week ahead of PlayBook's announcement after markets closed on Monday.

"I think a lot of people expected the tablet product to be announced, so the stock reacted fairly favorably into the announcement," he said.

"Then, quite often what you'll see, is traders have done what they wanted to do so they sell the news once it's official."
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