After promising to more aggressively promote its "beleaguered" 7-inch tablet, RIM has dramatically slashed the prices of its $499 16GB, $599 32GB, and $699 64GB PlayBooks to a more manageable $299 each. Why would the Canadian-based company put its tiered models at odds with one another? And could a fire sale — which ends on Feb. 4 — actually help RIM claw its way out from the hole it dug for itself in 2011?
It's a win-lose for RIM: If you need a 64GB tablet priced more affordably than a base model iPad ($499), you're in luck — as long as "you don't mind the part where it's called a BlackBerry PlayBook," says Matt Peckham at TIME. There should be enough takers for the company to clear out its 64GB models and use that "momentum" to sell some 16GB and 32GB models to late-comers. But that's "a win-lose situation for RIM," because it will take a $360 million hit just "to unload these things."
"Get Your BlackBerry PlayBooks Cheap: $299 Fire Sale on All Models"
But everyone else is doing it: Apple has resisted slashing prices, says Don Reisinger at CNET, but its rivals have found that aggressive pricing is "one of the easiest ways for tablet makers to attract consumers." HP's TouchPad sold out twice at $99, and Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire has moved fast. Remember: When Best Buy started selling the PlayBook for $199 in November, customers cleaned them out. Maybe the demand for a 7-inch tablet is there, and the PlayBook just had the wrong price tag all along.
"BlackBerry PlayBook price now $299 for all models"
Consumers still shouldn't buy this thing: If you're smart, "don't even think about picking up a PlayBook for $299," says Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. The PlayBook's operating system was never finished, it's still missing essential features like an email client, the app support is dismal, and at $299, it's still a "long way off the $99 that HP's TouchPad ended up at when it went into it's final death spiral." If you're in the market for a 7-inch tablet, get a Kindle Fire instead. "You can do better" than PlayBook.
"Should I buy a PlayBook for $299?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why are so many parents being arrested?
- Israel has only two choices: Eliminate the Palestinians or make peace
- 9 things you probably didn't know about the moon
- What I learned from totally unplugging and shutting up for three days
- Why America is duty bound to help Iraqi Christians
- 10 burning questions you've always wanted to ask about investing
- What these custom, 3D-printed earphones say about the future of consumer technology
Subscribe to the Week