On Monday, Research In Motion announced that it is slashing the price of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. For a limited time the device will be available for $199 at Best Buy, Wireless Giant, Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart.
The discounted price hadn't gone into effect when CNET reported the story on Monday, and as of this writing only Best Buy and Staples had rolled out the deal for a $199 16GB PlayBook on their websites. OfficeMax, Wal-Mart and Radio Shack were listing the PlayBook at the higher price, and Wireless Giant's website didn't have the PlayBook listed at all.
The price cut may be an attempt to compete with Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire, which is expected to sell 4 million units this quarter. According to The Huffington Post's Bianca Bosker, the Kindle Fire's success has "everything to do with its wallet-friendly pricetag." Though Amazon is selling the Fire for a price that lower than the cost of building the device, the retail online retail giant seems willing to take the loss if it means potentially selling a boatload of Kindle tablets.
Indeed, when HP liquidated its stock of TouchPads in August, the $99 tablet became a runaway best-seller and the second best-selling tablet in the U.S., according to a study by NPD Group. The PlayBook ranked sixth on that list, Tech Radar reports.
The PlayBook, which began selling in April for $499, didn't exactly take the tablet market by storm. In September, Reuters reported on rumors that the tablet was being killed. RIM shipped 500,000 units in the last six weeks of the first quarter, and only 200,000 in the whole second quarter. By contrast, Apple reported in April that it has sold 4.69 million iPads during its second quarter of 2011.
But even as analysts grumbled about the PlayBook's "failure," RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie remained confident in their tablet, saying RIM would be profitable again by the third quarter.