Blackberry Playbook price drops

Posted by Mark Raby

It's usually not a good sign when retailers cut the price of a gadget that hasn't received an official price cut from the manufacturer.

It is unclear if that is what's happening with Research in Motion's bungled tablet, the Blackberry Playbook.

Three of the largest retailers to carry the tablet, Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot, are now offering the gadget for $100-$200 less, with the latter offering part of the discount as a $100 mail-in rebate.

The question is whether these price cuts are temporary and/or encouraged by RIM itself. The company at leat appears to want you to believe they are.

RIM told PCMag.com in an interview, "We have a number of promotional plans in place for the fall with our retail partners that are intended to drive sell-through and increase adoption of the BlackBerry PlayBook. We are already starting to see some of these promotions being implemented in the form of instant rebates and gift cards within the consumer channel, and expect these promotions to continue into the holiday season."

RIM certainly does not appear to be giving up on the device. A major software update will be coming in the near future.

The problem with the Playbook was mainly that some of the features are locked unless users connect a Blackberry phone. Many critics say RIM should have opened up those features, like e-mail and instant messaging, to non-Blackberry customers because otherwise the tablet feels incomplete.

The software that powers the Playbook, QNX, will be used in upcoming Blackberry smartphones next year.

 UPDATE - RIM has also issued the following statement in response to a request for comment from BGR:

"The official retail price of BlackBerry PlayBook has not changed.  However, as mentioned on the Q2 earnings call on Sept. 15th,  we have a number promotional plans in place for the fall with our retail partners that are intended to drive sell-through and increased adoption of the BlackBerry PlayBook.  We are already starting to see some of these promotions being implemented in the form of instant rebates and gift cards within the consumer channel, and expect these promotions to continue into the holiday season.  The BlackBerry PlayBook has established itself as a high-performance tablet, and we are confident that these activities, along with the upcoming software upgrade, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, will help to generate an increase in demand and sell through of the BlackBerry PlayBook over the upcoming months."