06-19-13 01:28 PM
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  1. VerryBestr's Avatar
    The info in the latest financial report has me thinking that RIM's cost for the PlayBook is rather higher than I had previously believed based on BoM (Bill of Material) estimates. The BoM estimates were between $200 and $300 for the 16GB model, and slightly higher for the 32GB and 64GB models. However, RIM reported that delivered but unsold PlayBooks "mainly" accounted for the increase of $294 million in a specific line of assets, as of the end of November. What does this suggest about the PlayBook production cost?

    There is no mystery about how many PlayBooks had been delivered at that time. RIM reported approximately approximately 500,000, 200,000, and 150,000 for the three quarters during which PlayBooks were sold. That sums up to about 850,000 PlayBooks delivered to resellers, which RIM rounds off to a total of 0.8 million in its latest financial report.

    How many of these were sold to end customers? RIM reported that somewhat more than 150,000 were sold to end customers during the last quarter, up to the end of November. CB Kevin didn't really explain his estimate of 200,000 users back in September, but he seemed fairly confident based on the information he sees as webmaster.

    But we have more than just Kevin's estimate for the first two quarters. There was a briliant observation by CB user Artwerks in this thread: http://forums.crackberry.com/blackbe...s-sell-673285/. On the facebook site, it is possible see how many people used the PlayBook Facebook app during the last 30 days, in increments of 10,000 users. Artwerks noted that this number was 120,000 at the end of September, and argued that this suggested about 180,000 PlayBooks in the hands of end users (see his explanation in the thread I linked).

    Those are the reasons that I took, as rough estimates, end user sales of 200,000 in Q1 and 0 in Q2 (based on Kevin's observation and the Facebook app info), and 200,000 in Q3 (an optimistic take on RIM's report).

    So try to put these numbers together. 850,000 delivered and 400,000 sales would leave 450,000 delivered but not yet sold. But at least 37,000 of those are no longer booked as assets, as RIM said it had already counted those sales as revenue during the last quarter. Assume RIM counted no such sales as revenue during the first two quarters, and also assume there have been no returns to RIM. This leaves about 413,000 PlayBooks booked as assets.

    What does RIM mean when it says that these unsold PlayBooks "mainly" account for the $294 million? Say that means about $200 million (it would be hard to argue for less).

    This corresponds to a book valuation of $200,000,000/413,000 = $485 per PlayBook, what RIM calls the "deferred cost of goods sold for BlackBerry PlayBook tablets that were shipped, but not recognized as revenue."

    That sounds rather expensive, and could affect one's view of the writedown. It is possible that RIM's cost was negotiated according to a sliding scale, with the cost planned to decrease as the number of PlayBooks produced ramped up.

    By the way, the Facebook page, Facebook for BlackBerry PlayBook, now indicates 340,000 PlayBook "monthly active users," up from Artwerks' original observation of 120,000. This suggests that the number of PlayBook owners has roughly tripled since RIM began the reduced-price sales.

    On the production side, here are reports from Taiwan, excerpts and/or links to the online reports. I'm not saying they are correct, but they contain the best info I've seen.
    [Excerpt from a DigiTimes report which is now behind a subscription barrier]
    28 January 2011
    Production of RIM's PlayBook tablet PCs at Quanta's plant in Taiwan have reached an economic scale of 150,000-200,000 a month with shipments to be ready as early as February, according to sources at upstream component suppliers.
    RIM has required that all PlayBook tablets be built in Taiwan to avoid of being copied by white-box makers in China, while also protecting its security specifications, the sources added.
    Quanta declined to comment on orders for individual clients, but stated that it still maintains sufficient capacity in Taiwan to meet client needs, while the majority of its production lines are in China.

    Digitimes Insight: RIM PlayBook a poor debut for QNX
    21 September 2011
    RIM's stumbles in the market are compounded by its high expectations. About 1.5 million BlackBerry Playbooks were manufactured through September, which means RIM still has nearly 800,000 units of inventory on hand, stated Digitimes Research analyst James Wang.

    [Excerpt from a DigiTimes report which is now behind a subscription barrier]
    21 September 2011
    Quanta Computer has reportedly cut back production lines for RIM's PlayBook at its factory in northern Taiwan due to a large decrease in orders and has offered preferential compensation to lay off about 1,000 workers, according to industry sources.
    RIM, in order to avoid imitations of the PlayBook by China-based white-box vendors, asked Quanta to undertake production Taiwan instead of at Quanta's factories in China, the sources indicated. Therefore, Quanta set up production lines at the factory in northern Taiwan specifically for PlayBook and began production in three shifts with a workforce of more than 2,000 staff, the sources said.
    In April, RIM forecast sales of 4-5 million PlayBooks in 2011, the sources noted. However, RIM shipped fewer than 800,000 units during the first half of 2011 and monthly shipments dropped to about 100,000 units in the third quarter, the sources said. In view of drastically shrinking ODM orders from RIM, Quanta quickly decided to downsize its production to minimize losses, although RIM has not indicated plans to withdraw from the tablet PC market, the sources explained.
    Quanta's preferential compensation is significantly higher than legally required, averaging NT$100,000 (US$3,420) per worker, the sources noted.

    [Other news reports about the layoffs]
    Taiwan-based high-tech corporation Quanta cuts down thousand workers - Taiwan News Online
    Quanta to lay off 2,000 on 'preferential terms'
    Responding to low RIM sales, Quanta offers severance packages

    By the way, I'm not sure why this search for info would be viewed as "bile." In fact, I'm fascinated by the PlayBook, although I don't (yet) have one. The reaction of some real PlayBook enthusiasts (not all of whom are BlackBerry users) reminds me of something I've seen and experienced before ... the reaction of some people to the very first Macs: a certain elegance, great potential, few app(lication)s.

    In any case, I think a good PlayBook product is essentially make or break for RIM's corporate presence two or three years from now. Whether RIM is still actually producing the current model or not, I do not think RIM is giving up on tablets. I interpret a large writedown and a large inventory as meaning that RIM will be heavily promoting the current PlayBook model, particularily after the "relaunch" next year.
    Last edited by VerryBestr; 12-29-11 at 06:38 PM.
    12-29-11 03:32 PM
  2. Unsure2's Avatar
    Good analyses here. Probably the best that can be done with the limited information available. It will be interesting to see that January report that RIM is promising its board. Whatever the shortcomings of the Playbook, at least it provides some entertaining side drama that we could not be getting with another tablet...
    12-29-11 05:20 PM
  3. Flexin's Avatar
    Picked up mine (16GB) on Dec 27th. Build date (if I'm reading the right numbers) is 13 12 11.

    12-29-11 05:26 PM
  4. kevinnugent's Avatar
    VerryBestr, you've put a LOT of thought and work into this. It shows, and I thank you for it. Don't worry about any fanatical "bile" throwers around here. If they can't argue, they can always criticise.
    12-29-11 05:29 PM
  5. Blackberry_boffin's Avatar
    Whatever anyone "knew" or thought they knew about the PB is obsolete.
    It has been seeing decent uptake at the current price (and still is).
    Clearly production is on one way or the other (we have a 12 dec 2011 build in the house)
    So until the dust settles when RIM makes an official statement, I am treating most analyses with caution.
    12-31-11 07:15 AM
  6. suite5r's Avatar
    There still building fresh inventory: My 32 gig 161211 from Staples Ontario Canada.
    12-31-11 07:42 AM
  7. frisco49ers's Avatar
    just got a 32gb with a date of 120511, I am assuming that it is May 12th with the date format they seem to be using.
    12-31-11 08:07 AM
  8. striknine's Avatar
    I have one from december 15th 2011 and the other from May 13th 2011.
    The december 15th PB has a much higher serial number. I purchased it from Bestbuy on December 22nd when they had roughly 10 in stock.
    12-31-11 08:19 AM
  9. FF22's Avatar
    I'd go with the poster who suggested that the dates are PACKAGING but like so much else pb-related, that is speculation!
    12-31-11 10:15 AM
  10. djnshores's Avatar
    I bought my 16GB Playbook in November when the price dropped to $199. My manufacturing date is 210411 (April 21, 2011). The early date suggests it was part of an inventory reduction plan.
    Last edited by djnshores; 01-06-12 at 03:04 PM.
    01-06-12 03:00 PM
  11. DavidM348's Avatar
    16 GB PB
    Date of Purchase - 12/30/11
    Office Depot - $199.99
    Manufacturing Date Code 151211
    01-06-12 09:54 PM
  12. Calgary_pete's Avatar
    Purchased today Jan 7 2012. got rep to look through stock at future shop 64 GB 010511

    It has the raised power button. I suspect its not a build date but a boxed date.
    01-07-12 08:12 PM
  13. cbvinh's Avatar
    Purchased today Jan 7 2012. got rep to look through stock at future shop 64 GB 010511

    It has the raised power button. I suspect its not a build date but a boxed date.
    With a "boxed date" like that, it must mean Playbooks packaged long ago have dried up and we're getting to the end of the firesale... unless RIM is producing more...
    01-07-12 08:36 PM
  14. d_pang's Avatar
    My playbook was made on May 24/ 2011 (you can find the date on the right side of the box and looking at the last number) and the power button works fine so I guess my PB was one of the later ones but there is still a bulge on the back though
    01-07-12 08:49 PM
  15. Nihil_2005's Avatar
    I think they're still making them but now with OS 2.0.
    01-07-12 10:38 PM
  16. glamrlama's Avatar
    Picked up a 32GB on 26 Dec at a Canadian Walmart; ship/build was 161211; so like 10 days if the interpretation is correct!
    01-07-12 11:15 PM
  17. drudometkin's Avatar
    Purchased mine in May for $599

    01-07-12 11:36 PM
  18. thurask's Avatar
    The 64GB that I bought in October was made on April 26th.
    01-08-12 12:27 AM
  19. tharrison4815's Avatar
    I really don't like the fact that my PB has been sitting on a shelf for 8 months (bought it a few days ago - 3rd Jan - and the date shows May 2011

    We need to start some sort of census for the manufacture date vs issues such as the infamous bulge. I want to know if my unit is likely to have issues.
    01-08-12 02:08 AM
  20. NJPhilliesPhan's Avatar
    Purchased mine in May for $599

    Wow that must hurt.
    01-08-12 02:12 AM
  21. tman1988's Avatar
    I got mine from Shopbb and the date on it is 06/06/11. I am in Canada and they shipped me one that was made in Taiwan and under region it says Latin America. I am in Canada, wonder why I got a Latin America Playbook.
    01-08-12 02:58 AM
  22. blue-b's Avatar
    If they still have 1000 people employed wouldn't they be doing something. The way things work these days if total production stopped it probably would of hit the airwaves by now. It is easily speculative to state likely packaging date too, who really knows.
    01-08-12 04:01 AM
  23. cogsinister's Avatar
    I think they're still making them but now with OS 2.0.
    In your dreams..............
    01-08-12 04:22 AM
  24. JeepBB's Avatar
    If they still have 1000 people employed wouldn't they be doing something.
    Yes. I'm sure Quanta are doing something but, unfortunately for Playbook, it probably involves the Kindle Fire.

    As to the dates on the boxes, I reckon they are packing dates, not build dates.

    IMO, Playbooks are coming off warehouse shelves, being put into retail packaging, and being shipped to buyers eagar to take advantage of the price cuts. I personally doubt there will any Playbooks left unsold within a month. Which I guess must be good news in terms of building a user-base for Playbook.
    01-08-12 04:49 AM
  25. cbvinh's Avatar
    The 64GB that I bought in October was made on April 26th.
    Bought an Amazon refurb unit in December. Made on April 13th. Power button is raised. Bulge on back. Many stuck pixels that disappear after boot. Two dead pixels on the top edge, which are actually not very noticeable. Outer slip cover scuffed up pretty good, but inner box and contents (other than the Playbook) is new.
    01-08-12 05:59 AM
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