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BlackBerry PlayBook Price Slashed Again

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RIM just announced two new ways to save big on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

First, the company once again slashed the price of the PlayBook. Until February 11, the tablet will be shipping from shopblackberry.com at a discounted rate of $199 for 16GB, $249 for 32GB and $299 for 64GB.

But what if you'd rather have it for free? On Thursday, VP of developer relations Alec Saunders tweeted that Android app developers who submit an app to BlackBerry's App World by February 13 could get a free PlayBook. His tweet included a link to BlackBerry's developer tools page, where interested parties can learn how to convert their apps for PlayBook.

Even if you can't cash in on the free deal, with the new PlayBook 2.0 operating system update rumored to be right around the corner, $200 sounds like a pretty good bargain.

Tech Crunch's Devin Coldewey writes, "I have to say that at $200, with the new OS, this is a really good deal. For the price of a Nook or Fire, you get a device with much better specs and some big-boy productivity software."

The discounted PlayBooks probably won't ship with the new operating system. However,according to the Berry Review, a "very solid source" has pegged a February 17 release date for the long-awaited software upgrade, which means those who buy the PlayBook at the discounted price should be seeing an upgrade very soon. The OS the PlayBook currently runs on is missing key components like calendar and contacts apps, as well as a native email service. Many have been calling for an upgrade almost since the PlayBook's launch last April.

PlayBook 2.0 was well-received at its CES debut last month, although some wondered whether the 8-month wait had been too long to save the struggling PlayBook line. As Tech Crunch wrote in a review of the OS from CES, "It would’ve been better to enter the tablet space now (with 2.0) than to try and regain consumer interest in what has become a rather crowded segment."

This isn't the first time RIM has tried to spur interest in the PlayBook by dropping the price.

In November the price of the 16GB PlayBook briefly dropped to $199 -- just in time for the holiday shopping rush. The deep discount was instituted again in mid-December, and just last month RIM announced that for a limited time all PlayBook models would sell for $299.

The positive reactions to these price drops has prompted speculation that RIM would do well to slash the tablet's price permanently. After a run on the discounted PlayBook at Best Buy locations in November, CNET's Brooke Crothers wrote that $199 is the price the tablet should have sold for from day one.

We've rated the BlackBerry PlayBook to be one of RIM's biggest failures from the past year. Check out out slideshow (below) to see other big BlackBerry disasters in 2011.

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