rim blackberry playbook smallThis week as the Blackberry Playbook goes on sale in the UK, RIM reports its Q1 earnings in the US and things aren’t looking good. The results were below analysts estimates, coming in at $4.9 billion versus Wall Street’s estimate of $5.5 billion.

Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.9 billion, down 12% from $5.6 billion in the previous quarter and up 16% from $4.2 billion in the same quarter of last year. The revenue breakdown for the quarter was approximately 78% for hardware revenue, 20% for service and 2% for software and other revenue. During the quarter, RIM shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry handheld devices and approximately 500,000 BlackBerry Playbook tablets.

The 500’000 Playbooks shipped in the US is a ‘delivered to channels’ number, not sales to end consumers which could be a much lower figure. The Playbook has received less than stellar reviews in the US and in the UK where Blackberries are generally less popular than in the US we predict an even harder times getting sales. To compare sales in the first 2 months Samsung sold just over 1 millions units in its first 2 months, and the new iPad2 is estimated to have sold 400’000-600’000 in the first 3 days.

Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion stated:

Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter.

So Q2 isn’t going to get any better either, leading to troubling times ahead for RIM as they try and push their new tablet into their existing corporate market, where tablets are weak and laptops rule, and simultaneously into the consumer market where Blackberries just aren’t cool enough. Read the full press release here.