Research In Motion on Monday confirmed that about 1,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets have been recalled following what RIM is calling a faulty operating system build. The problems affect the 16-GB version of the PlayBook, according to RIM.
"RIM determined that approximately one thousand BlackBerry Playbook tablets (16 GB) were shipped with an OS build that may result in the devices being unable to properly load software upon initial set-up," said RIM representatives in a statement e-mailed to CRN Monday.
"The majority of the affected devices are still in the distribution channel and haven't reached customers," said RIM. "RIM is working to replace the affected devices."
The recalls occured outside of Australia where an offiicial release date for the device is yet to be announced.
They were first reported by Engadget, which posted what was said to be an internal memo from Staples to its Web site over the weekend.
"Approximately 900 units of the BlackBerry PlayBook have been determined to be faulty," read the memo. "The vendor has provided the serial numbers so that we can pull these off the floor and return immediately."
PlayBook customers who think they have a faulty tablet should contact the company, according to RIM.
"In the small number of cases where a customer received a PlayBook that is unable to properly load software upon initial set-up, they can contact RIM for assistance," RIM wrote in the statement to CRN.
RIM's PlayBook, which has seen mixed reviews from the technology press, boasts a 7-inch screen with 1024x600 resolution, measures 5.1 inches by 7.6 inches. It's RIM's key challenger in the battle for tablet dominance among Apple's mighty iPad and a host of devices running Google Android and a number of other mobile OSes. The PlayBook uses QNX, the operating system RIM acquired with its buy of QNX Software Systems in April 2010.
The PlayBook's sales strength is difficult to pinpoint, although there are some signs it's been a positive for RIM. Peter Misek, an equity analyst with Jeffries & Co., wrote in a late April note to clients that RIM likely sold about 45,000 PlayBooks in its first days on sale, and that sales of PlayBook were likely outpacing those of rival Motorola's Xoom tablet.
RIM has also promised that the PlayBook will have a native e-mail client within a few months. At its recent BlackBerry World user and developer conference this month, RIM also discussed ways it will partner with Microsoft and Adobe to broaden the PlayBook's platform appeal.
RIM, meanwhile, has had a difficult few weeks. In late April, the company cut its profit forecast for the current quarter by 11 percent due to weaker than expected smartphone sales, causing its stock to plunge.