RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300 - InformationWeek

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11/22/2011
08:05 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300

Research in Motion has dropped the price of the base model of its tablet temporarily to $199 in what appears to be a last ditch effort to generate some enthusiasm.

If the BlackBerry PlayBook has been on your wish list, now is the time to dive in. RIM has chopped $300 off of every model. The 16-GB model is now $199, the 32-GB model is $299, and for $399, you can have the 64-GB version. Will this spur sales and help create a user base?

RIM only shipped 200,000 in its first quarter of launch, a disappointing number when you realize that the iPad 2 moves that same amount every 48 hours.

When HP dropped the price of the TouchPad to $199, retail outlets like Best Buy blew through existing inventory before lunch. Everyone recognized that for what it was: a rock-bottom closeout special. For $199, you got what you got and recognized that platform updates would be few, if any, and the developer interest would rapidly evaporate since the platform was being discontinued.

Retail outlets, including WalMart, Office Depot, Radio Shack, and Best Buy will be holding the PlayBook sale until at least December 3, so don't worry about standing in line on Black Friday.

This sale is different in at least two ways from the TouchPad sale. First, the PlayBook isn't yet a standalone device. Neither BlackBerry email nor the popular BlackBerry Messenger service are available on the PlayBook. The device was supposed to be updated this year to include those features, but it has been pushed to 2012. That is important because the PlayBook would only appeal to existing BlackBerry users. Using the BlackBerry Bridge, you can get your corporate email and use BBM on the tablet, but without a BlackBerry, the tablet is limited. Therefore, the market is instantly limited, $199 price or not.

Second, and this is good news, the PlayBook isn't being discontinued. Buying one at this price if it fits your needs is an investment that should pay off for at least a year or so, assuming RIM continues to support it.

There is no doubt RIM is taking a loss on each one sold, but it becomes a marketing strategy to grow the user base. If this sale is only half as successful as the TouchPad sale, it should breathe new life into the struggling platform. The big question, though, is are there enough BlackBerry fans left that want to put yet more money into the platform?

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herman_munster
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herman_munster,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/28/2011 | 5:10:25 PM
re: RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300
I'd probably buy this if I could find some good guides on dumping the native OS in favor of (meaning removing the native OS and installing) Linux (like real Linux, not Android-linux).
EVVJSK
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EVVJSK,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/25/2011 | 1:57:51 PM
re: RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300
RIM did not see the writing on the wall (as they have missed so many times with the Blackberry phones also). When other manufacturers were discounting their tablets (in July and August), RIM was too slow to start discounting. If they would have started discounting earlier before the ASUS and ACER Android tablet discounts, they might have gained some traction, but they didn't until the fire sale at $99. That and the fact that there was not development environment (no Java support) that could easily give them a quick set of applications that would work on the Playbook. Too many other development environments out there (Apple with iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc...). They expected folks to come along for the ride and there were just too many players for a completely new environment.
schwinck
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schwinck,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2011 | 9:09:10 PM
re: RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300
Your comparison is incorrect. The TouchPad was clearanced at $99 not $199. And you got a 10-inch screen compared to the PlayBook 7-inch screen. A high quality 10-inch digital picture frame is worth $99.
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/23/2011 | 8:44:54 PM
re: RIM Cuts PlayBook Price By $300
The tea leaves that have been read paint a grim picture for the Playbook... and RIM in general. The market is solidifying into two maybe three platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone / Windows 8. All others are niche players that had better think like that instead of trying to compete with the big boys.
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