Blackberry maker Research in Motion announced Monday it would slash the price of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, but the price change didn't go into effect until Tuesday. Now, for a limited time only, the tablet is selling for $199 at Best Buy, Radio Shack, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Wal-Mart and Wireless Giant, which is $300 cheaper than the tablet's original price.
There's no word if RIM's $199 PlayBook deal also coincides with Blackberry's other special offer of two PlayBooks for the price of one, which the company said was effective until Dec. 31.
The Blackberry PlayBook debuted in April with a $499 tag, the same price as Apple's iPad, but was met with a lukewarm response. By September, rumors were already swirling that RIM was ready to kill the tablet, after selling 500,000 units in the last six weeks in the first quarter, but only 200,000 units in the entire second quarter. Comparatively, Apple said it sold 4.7 million iPads in the second quarter alone.
Critics lambasted the Blackberry PlayBook for its difficult physical controls, poor memory management, middle-of-the-road battery life, and its lack of 3G. Furthermore, the PlayBook blocks any apps that rely on Google Maps or text-to-speech, which many reviewers believed was not worth the $499 price tag.
By slashing its price by $300, RIM, based in Waterloo, Ontario, has decided it would rather compete with the similarly-priced Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook Tablets instead of the iPad this holiday season.
Early projections show Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire may sell 5 million units by the end of 2011, and it's generally believed that the tablet's early success has everything to do with its wallet-friendly price tag. Barnes & Noble's $249 Nook Tablet currently sells for $50 more than the Fire, yet despite its highly favorable reviews, price seems to be a greater determining factor of success in the current economic climate.
Need proof? Look no further than HP, which decided to discontinue its $399 TouchPad tablet after only one month on the market. When the company decided to hold a fire sale and lower the price of its tablets to just $99, however, HP's tablets flew off the shelves, and since has been named the No. 2 selling tablet in 2011.
RIM once sold BlackBerry PlayBooks for $199 for one weekend on online reseller Newegg.com; they sold out very quickly. Maybe RIM should remove that for a limited time label.