Troubled PlayBook Tablet Gets Huge $300 Price Cut

Dennis Faas's picture

The price of the slow-selling PlayBook tablet -- built by BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) -- has been slashed by U.S. retailers. It's a desperate move by RIM to clear out inventory of a product that has struggled since its launch earlier this year.

Sales of RIM's PlayBook have been extremely disappointing for the Waterloo, Canada-based company. The tablet first shipped back in April, with RIM reportedly expecting to sell about five million units in its first year.

Instead, sales were only 200,000 units in the last quarter, and only about 700,000 in total. (Source:

Experts: RIM Selling PlayBook Under Cost

The 16GB version of RIM's PlayBook tablet has now been slashed to $199, a whopping $300 less than its original price.

Based on the estimated cost of each internal component, industry experts believe RIM is now selling the device at a loss. (Source:

RIM's decision is no doubt inspired by competitor's price reductions. Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently made news by cutting the price of its TouchPad to $99. Even more important: Amazon unveiled the $199 Kindle Fire tablet while Barnes & Noble released a $249 Nook slate. There has been lots of media attention paid to these devices, which together helped reduce consumers' already limited interest in the much-maligned PlayBook.

Experts don't believe RIM will abandon the PlayBook, even with it's shrunken profit margin. Last month co-CEO Jim Balsillie said he was "100%" behind the PlayBook, and the company has announced even more incentives for buyers of the tablet over the holiday season.

PlayBook Price Cut: Too Little, Too Late

Will the massive price cut save the PlayBook, even if RIM won't give up on it? Many critics think the discount is just too little, too late.

"RIM's PlayBook problem is that [it] hasn't offered a solid reason for people without a BlackBerry phone to buy a PlayBook in the first place," said GigaOM blogger, Kevin Tofel. "It was priced too high out of the gate and was missing key software features. The PlayBook works great for what it does, but what it doesn't do is the issue." (Source:

The reduced PlayBook tablet is now available at many U.S. retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart and Amazon.

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