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Blackberry PlayBook expected at sub-$500 entry price

updated 06:05 am EST, Wed November 10, 2010

Co-CEO Jim Balsillie reveals plans

RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie has revealed in an interview in Korea that its forthcoming Blackberry Playbook will reach the US market in Q1 2011 priced at under $500. Originally unveiled in September, Balsillie also indicated that the device would then begin rolling out globally during spring 2011.

When it ships, the Playbook will incorporate an ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor running at 1GHz with 1GB of RAM. It will pack a seven-inch 1024x600 display and weigh 0.9lbs. The design is the first to run a QNX-based platform, BlackBerry Tablet OS with the ability to connect to Blackberry Enterprise Servers for e-mail by pairing over Bluetooth with a Blackberry smartphone. The Playbook will also feature dual 720p video cameras and is capable of real-time video conferencing.

The company has been facing pressure to keep the price of the PlayBook low. Without any built-in 3G, the tablet will have to compete against the $499 iPad and will have to differentiate itself from the 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab's $600 price. [via Bloomberg]

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    All well and good that they can keep the price

    low, but it will probably be at the expense of decent margins. I'm not exactly sure how that would help RIM's bottom line. Investors were very unhappy to hear about Apple not making decent margins on the iPad, so it should be a concern for RIM investors, too. I'm certain Apple should make better margins if the quality is the same for both products, since Apple is ordering such a huge amount of components and would be better able to leverage component costs in their favor.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not enough

    So i guess the base 7 inch wifi model will cost $499,- but that's not good enough, next year the base iPad could easily be priced at $399,- and why not a iPod Touch XL 7 inch (same resolution) for $299,-. Don't be fooled, if 7 inch really is the sweetspot for screensize then Apple will have an answer ready.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Flash 10.1

    The PlayBook does support full Flash 10.1 but it has to be seen that this is an advantage or not, i wonder what the battery life will be. Its a dual core ARM based processor, normally not de kind of processor that Flash is optimized for. I predict 2 hrs when surfing Flash sites, 4-5 hrs for movies and lighter work.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: All well and good

    but it will probably be at the expense of decent margins. I'm not exactly sure how that would help RIM's bottom line.

    It depends on what kind of margins RIM usually has.

    Investors were very unhappy to hear about Apple not making decent margins on the iPad, so it should be a concern for RIM investors, too.

    You read that wrong. Investors were not 'unhappy' with Apple's margins. They were expecting margins higher than what Apple reported, and, as such, the price of the stock dropped a bit in adjustment.

    You need to remember that the price of a stock is not based on "What is the company doing today", but "What are we expecting the company to do in the future". Earnings releases are when the investors compare their guesstimates to 'reality'. At that point, the price will drop/rise to bring the price in line with the results. Then they start buying or selling based on the future prospects.

    So, by the time mid-October hit, the price of the stock was based on a load of assumptions (forecasted sales numbers, profit numbers, revenue, margins, etc). These numbers usually end up being dumped into the simplistic "Earnings Per Share" number that people like to talk about, but there's more to it than that. Even so, there are also TWO sets of numbers. There's the forecasts from the analysts. These are published and are their 'official guesses' for the quarter. These are based on all sorts of c*** they dig up, including Apple's earlier guidance. Then there's the 'whisper' number. This is the unofficial guess as to what the numbers are 'really' going to be.

    The Stock generally shoots up prior to earnings, with the pricing based on the 'whisper', not the 'official' line. Thus, if Apple kills the official estimates and their own guidance, it means nothing, as the price was factoring in the whisper numbers. Thus the reason the stock tends to fall when the results come out, regardless of how good they look.

    Also note that no one seems to care that the price of the stock might go up $30 the week before announcement (as the guesses on the results start flying), and yet there's the whining that comes when it then drops $20 after results. No recognition it is $10 higher from a couple of weeks ago. It's always harping on the loser brokers who don't know what they're doing and selling on great news.

    (Note: The official numbers are always more conservative, because they need to make it look like they were 'on target' with the analysis. This is no different than Apple's guidance, which is also conservative so they can beat their estimates - which sounds better than guessing large and coming up short.)

    (Also note: This is the same for basically any company. Apple is used as an example.)

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