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BlackBerry PlayBook gets dramatic holiday discount: prices and problems

The BlackBerry PlayBook is hitting fire sale status just in time for the holidays, with a $300 price cut across the board and additional discounts for RIM employees. With Best Buy already having trouble filling orders, the big question is what's to come of the price — and the device itself — in the new year.

  • Nathan Ingraham

    Dec 6, 2011

    Nathan Ingraham

    Analyst: BlackBerry Playbook is an 'albatross'

    BlackBerry PlayBook main
    BlackBerry PlayBook main

    Analysts are starting to respond to RIM's $485m loss on the BlackBerry Playbook, and the outlook is not positive. Bloomberg Businessweek outlines a compelling theory of the burden the Playbook places on RIM: it's a necessary evil that RIM can't afford to simply kill (like HP did with the TouchPad) because it's the only device RIM offers that runs its next-generation BBX OS. At the same time, massive price cuts mean that RIM is losing significant money on every Playbook it does manage to sell. Amidst this turmoil, RIM's shares have dropped 71 percent since the beginning of this year, while an analyst from Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel referred to the Playbook as an "albatross or a yoke around the neck." While the albatross is shot dead in the classic Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem, the Playbook lives on — it seems RIM can't afford to shoot it down yet.

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  • Dec 2, 2011

    Vlad Savov

    RIM to take a $485 million loss in Q3 earnings due to unsold PlayBooks

    blackberry playbook_640
    blackberry playbook_640

    150,000 PlayBooks were shipped to retailers in the third quarter, but RIM has seen very positive feedback to the deep discounts it has been pushing and claims that the number of sales to consumers during that period is higher still. Though these numbers are relatively small and the writeoff announced today is undeniably big, RIM has chosen to look on the bright side and intends to treat the discounted sell-off of the PlayBook as a constructive exercise that gives the PlayBook OS a wider audience and firmer foothold.

    There's no sign of panic within the company and we're assured that "RIM is committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy." In other words, there'll be no HP TouchPad fate for the PlayBook, RIM is in for the long haul with its QNX-based OS and interrelated smartphone and tablet strategy.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Nov 29, 2011

    Bryan Bishop

    Best Buy confirms it is sold out of BlackBerry PlayBooks

    BlackBerry PlayBook light
    BlackBerry PlayBook light

    Earlier today we reported that Best Buy customers that had taken advantage of the retailer's recent BlackBerry PlayBook sale were allegedly having their orders canceled, even after being charged for their purchases. Best Buy has now issued a statement on the matter.

    So there you have it. Best Buy confirms it ran out of stock of the 7-inch tablet, but doesn't comment on why customers were sold devices it didn't have in inventory. Nor does it address whether those customers will still be able to get the tablet at the price they paid for it — even though Best Buy confirms it will be getting more PlayBooks in stock. We'll keep you informed of any further developments, but at the moment RIM's holiday discount is looking nearly as chaotic as HP's TouchPad fire sale.

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  • Joanna Stern

    Nov 28, 2011

    Joanna Stern

    RIM kicks off employee-only $99 BlackBerry PlayBook fire sale

    Does $199 sound like too much for the BlackBerry Playbook this holiday season? RIM seems to think so, but only for its employees. According to multiple sources, the 16GB 7-inch tablet is now available to RIM employees through a special corporate portal for $99. The 32GB version is $149 and the 64GB model for $199. We have also been told that employees can only order up to eight models. Of course, that means that it's only a matter of time before we start to see the QNX tablet on eBay, but hey, maybe RIM will just pull an HP and roll out the savings to everyone.

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  • Bryan Bishop

    Nov 28, 2011

    Bryan Bishop

    Best Buy allegedly canceling Black Friday PlayBook orders

    BlackBerry PlayBook main
    BlackBerry PlayBook main

    RIM recently announced a holiday season promotion that saw the price of its BlackBerry PlayBook cut $300 across the board. Best Buy followed suit with a Black Friday sale at the same price points, but online shoppers that took advantage are now complaining their orders are being canceled by the retailer outright. SlashGear confirms that at least one location has nixed orders, with multiple customers in Best Buy's support forums reporting that their credit cards were charged before being informed the device was on backorder, and that their orders were then canceled altogether. We saw similar situations with the HP TouchPad fire sale, but rather than an indicator of impending doom, this simply appears to be a case of a retailer selling stock they didn't have. Best Buy still has the device up on its website as of this time — listed as out of stock for both online ordering and in-store pickup — while RIM is offering all models of the PlayBook on its online store, with shipping listed as one to two days. We've reached out to Best Buy for further clarification on the cancelations, and will update you with any new information we receive.

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  • Eddie Fu

    Nov 16, 2011

    Eddie Fu

    BlackBerry PlayBook $199 on Black Friday, discounted in Canada this month (update)

    playbook 1
    playbook 1

    The BlackBerry PlayBook has been met with lackluster sales since its launch this spring, and it's no mystery why: it shipped without key BlackBerry features like email, calendar, and BBM. After retailers temporarily slashed prices in an effort to boost sales earlier this year, they're back at it again. In the US, Staples will be selling the 16GB version for $199 on Black Friday, while a tipster has informed us that most Canadian retailers will be permanently dropping the price of PlayBooks beginning December 18th: $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB, and $399 for 64GB (see flyers below). This discount makes the BlackBerry tablet price competitive with new devices like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, and there's supposed to be a software update on the horizon that adds in some of the missing features. Hopefully it comes soon, or the PlayBook might get left behind, despite the hot deals.

    Update: Our original tipster tells us that the Canadian deal will actually begin November 18th and run through December 1st, and that it might not be a permanent price drop after all. However, a second anonymous source also shot us the Best Buy / Future Shop flyers below, and those deals don't look very limited.

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