The price of the Blackberry Playbook has been slashed to $199 for the 16GB version, $299 for the 32GB version, and $399 for the 64GB version. The new pricing, said to be for a limited time, is now $300 off the original price of each model.
Tablets have been under increasing pricing pressure every since the HP Touchpad’s price was cut in a fire-sale in August. The pressure increased dramatically last week with the launch of Amazon’s Kindle Fire for $199 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook for $249.
Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind Blackberry, was already experiencing declining sales. Only the most diehard Blackberry fans would likely to purchase the Playbook at the previous prices in the face of this new strong competition – and true Blackberry fans would likely have bought the tablet much earlier than now.
RIM is not the only company that had a high priced tablet on the market when tablet prices dropped through the floor. But they do have a particularly vexing problem – the Playbook was launched without the apps Blackberry was famous for, BlackBerry messenger, email, calendar and contact applications. As we reported here, RIM promised buyers a software update that would include email and other Blackberry apps within 60 days. That 60 days has been pushed back again and again. Now it’s looking like an update may finally come in February of 2012, 8 months past the 60 day promise.
But the Playbook may eventually grow a following. Today, Slashgear published screenshots of Blackberry apps being readied for the Playbook, so maybe the February update will come through. If RIM maintains the lower price (and that’s not a sure thing, it may cost more than $199 to build one), and the update comes, the tablet will have features that other low priced tablets don’t have, such as a camera, Bluetooth, and processing power.
The lower pricing on the Playbook is currently reflected on major retail sites, such as Best Buy and Amazon.