Here's a storyline you don't hear every day: Research In Motion's (NYSE:BB) PlayBook tablet may be outselling Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. Specifically, we're talking about unit sales only within the U.K. and comparing RIM's PlayBook only with Apple's newest and most expensive iPad model.
According to recent estimates from market researcher Context, the Canadian company shipped 160,000 tablets during the last two months of 2012, enough to best the fourth-generation iPad with Retina display and its estimated 113,000 in unit shipments. A major contributing factor to that beat was that the PlayBook is significantly cheaper and targets lower-end markets. The tablet retails for 129 pounds, just a third of the 399 pound starting price for the iPad.
However, if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture and include all of Apple's iPad models, this comparison proves rather specious.
How about some context?
When you include all iPads, Apple's total jumps to 203,000, easily beating RIM's figures. Within the lower-end market, the iPad Mini starts at 269 pounds, while the older iPad 2 starts at 329 pounds.
One of the only reasons why the PlayBook is now seeing some demand is because RIM had to slash its price in order to move units. Demand was so low after the company launched the tablet in 2011 that one local reseller compared it to a "dog with fleas" at the time.
Additionally, if you look at total unit shipments throughout the PlayBook's time on the market, there really is no comparison.
This chart shows iPad and PlayBook shipments only for the quarters that RIM has offered the device. During that time, RIM has shipped a hair under 2 million PlayBooks over seven quarters. In comparison, Apple shipped 83.4 million iPads during the same time, or nearly 42 times as many tablets. That doesn't even include the 37.6 million iPads that aren't included in this chart.
Overall, RIM's PlayBook is not outselling the iPad. Not by a long shot.
Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA, owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.