Windsor Star

RIM’s Play Book a corporate hit

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NEW YORK Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry PlayBook, the tablet designed to compete with the iPad from Apple Inc., is winning corporate customers months before its debut.

Insurer Sun Life Financial Inc. has agreed to buy as many as 1,000 PlayBooks, and the Canadian banking unit of ING Groep says it is also committed to purchasing the device. Companies including Manulife Financial Corp. are testing the product, set to go on sale next quarter.

RIM first found success selling its BlackBerry smartphone to companies, and is counting on such endorsemen­ts as it tries to challenge Apple’s dominance of the booming tablet market. RIM, based in Waterloo, is betting on the PlayBook’s security features, such as email encryption, to win over companies used to working with the BlackBerry.

“The encryption was really the clincher in opting for the PlayBook,” said Tom Reid, a Sun Life senior vice-president. Sun Life plans to buy 500 to 1,000 PlayBooks initially, and may boost that number as it begins to use it more widely, he said.

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