By Patrick Avenell (Follow me on Twitter)

The HP TouchPad may be off the shelves, its WebOS operating system now confined to the software museum, but it is not all bad for the niche tablets competing with the critical mass of Apple and various Android suppliers.

Ben McIntosh, the head of Harvey Norman’s Computers buying team, said Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which runs off RIM’s own tablet OS, had been selling very well since its retail launch in late June.

“Sales of the PlayBook are very, very good,” said McIntosh, who credited RIM’s success to its tablet strategy.

“BlackBerry has probably come from a different direction. The PlayBook was always going to be more of a niche product based on the fact that they’re really targeting the BlackBerry smartphone base that’s in Australia and the world.

“The sales of the PlayBook have been fantastic, we’ve re-ordered multiple times and it’s exceeded our expectations.”

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As for tablets in general, McIntosh said this was a booming category, with even the TouchPad selling around 1,200 units in four days of sale, not including a weekend of trading.

“The iPad is obviously going really, really well and Android is getting more and more popular,” he said. “From a Harvey Norman point of view, I’m just happy that people are buying tablets, unfortunately one has dropped off the perch early but that’s just part of industry and that’s how the industry rolls.”

Click here to read our full review of the BlackBerry PlayBook