06/07/2012 10:01 am ET Updated Jun 07, 2012

BlackBerry PlayBook 16GB Canceled, RIM Says; 32GB And 64GB PlayBook Still On Sale

If you're in the market for a BlackBerry Playbook, you are now going to have to go big or go home. In terms of storage, that is.

RIM has canceled production on its 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, leaving only 32GB and 64GB models on sale. As first pointed out by N4BB and confirmed in a statement to Engadget, the cheapest member of the PlayBook family has been discontinued in favor of its two higher-capacity cousins.

Here's the official statement from Research in Motion, provided to our sister site Engadget:

RIM will no longer be making the 16 GB model of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The 16 GB PlayBook will continue to be available for distributors and retailers while quantities last. We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world.

There is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32 GB, 64 GB), and as such we have decided to focus our efforts here.

So, what happened to the 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook? Well, aside from the obvious, Amazon's Kindle Fire happened: The Kindle Fire has essentially the same design as the PlayBook, but it was priced cheaper at $199, came with Amazon's robust library of books and movies, and arrived on a tidal wave of hype and advertising momentum. Despite a series of price cuts, and a much-improved operating system upgradein February, the BlackBerry PlayBook just couldn't compete.

(Actually, the BlackBerry PlayBook in general -- all three storage sizes -- has long been rumored to be on the chopping block, due to poor sales almost as soon as it was released in April, starting at $499. RIM appears committed to the tablet space for now, however, pushing its BlackBerry PlayBook primarily as a viable option for enterprise use.

The 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook joins the HP TouchPad and the Dell Streak 7 as the newest high-profile member of the tablet retirement community.