updated 09:20 am EDT, Fri September 23, 2011
Canadian stores cut PlayBook prices first
RIM's promises of cutting BlackBerry PlayBook prices to clear the slow-selling tablet have borne out as Canadian stores have started slashing prices. Best Buy and its sibling Future Shop, as well as Staples, have all dropped the price by $200 across the board to $300. The first two chains supply a gift card to get to the $300 price if bought in store, but all three give an immediate discount if the tablet is bought online.
Both Best Buy and Future Shop claim the price is part of a two-week sale ending October 6. Staples doesn't mention an end date.
Walmart may be offering the PlayBook for even less through an unofficial sale. Official pricing at the store is still at the original $500, but one report from a MobileSyrup reader showed evidence that he had bought the PlayBook at half off, or $250. Its pricing is near certain to be part of a sale but would be unusual as it matches the Rogers staff pricing and might be sold only at cost.
American stores have yet to follow suit. The move nonetheless reflects a steep drop in PlayBook sales and the possibility that RIM has tens or hundreds of thousands of unsold devices. Some believe the BlackBerry originator overestimated its popularity and had planned to ship over four million in 2011. Apart from asking the same price as the iPad for a device with a smaller screen, RIM's decision to rush the software and ship without vital native e-mail, calendars, and BlackBerry Messenger left only the most faithful BlackBerry users interested. PlayBook 2.0 is due in October and should add these features in along with the Android App Player and improving the BlackBerry Tablet OS as a whole.