Report: More than 1 million PlayBooks to ship in Q1

RIM tablet expected to debut in March; exact price still not known

Shipments of Research in Motion's PlayBook tablet computer in this quarter are expected to top 1 million units, according to Taiwan-based online tech publication DigiTimes. RIM has a lot riding on its 4G tablet, which drew a lot of attention and praise at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It will feature a new operating system called QNX, the first time RIM has used something other than the BlackBerry OS. But PlayBook will be able to interact with its owner's BlackBerry smartphone through a syncing feature via Bluetooth, which RIM hopes will give its tablet an edge in the enterprise market. DigiTimes also reports that the PlayBook will be available in March, so we won't get a clear idea of how the device performs in the tablet market until the second quarter. The RIM tablet is expected to be priced below $500. The device is RIM's answer to Apple's popular iPad, which is making inroads into RIM's traditional enterprise stronghold. With the BlackBerry rapidly losing smartphone market share over the past year -- notably to devices powered by Google's Android mobile OS -- RIM is counting on the PlayBook to reinvigorate the company's fortunes. Shares of RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) gained 76 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at 64.77 on Friday. The stock has rebounded strongly since hitting a 52-week low of 42.53 last Aug. 31.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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