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Research in Motion’sRIM BlackBerry PlayBook demo BlackBerry PlayBook tablet has (deservedly) faced heat from reviewers for its missing features and over-reliance on BlackBerry phones. But RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie says those complaints are misguided, Bloomberg reports.

While it’s normal for a CEO to defend a fledgling product — especially a product whose success holds an entire company’s future in its hands — Balsillie may end up appearing clueless and out of touch by refusing to acknowledge actual issues with the PlayBook’s launch.

In response to critics who said that the PlayBook was rushed to the market because it shipped without key apps and features, Balsillie said in a TV interview with Bloomberg: “I don’t think that’s fair. A lot of the people who want this want a secure and free extension of their BlackBerry.”

He’s referring to some 60 million BlackBerry phone users worldwide who can pair the PlayBook with their phone to access their email, calendar and other applications, as well as use mobile Internet. Without being paired to a BlackBerry phone, key functionality from the PlayBook — including email, contacts and calendar apps — are completely inaccessible. That means the device is practically useless to the hundreds of millions of smartphone users on other platforms worldwide. RIM has said that the PlayBook will get independent versions of email, contacts and other apps this summer.

Apple’s iPad has so far sold over 15 million units since it launched last April, and Android tablet companies like Samsung and Motorola have a head start on RIM. But Balsillie has his game face on: “I like our chances for a lot of share,” he said. “We’re very excited about where we are.”

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