The Playbook has been so underwhelming that some have quipped that Research in Motion "couldn't even give them away." Well, that statement is about to be tested as RIM is willing to offer a free copy of its tablet to Android developers willing to port their apps to the Blackberry format.
Although the Playbook was praised for its use of the QNX operating system, a brand new platform built from the ground up, it has been plagued with problems, not the least of which is the highly competitive nature of the tablet market which is not at all amenable to a non-Android, non-iPad offering.
Among the other problems is that when the Playbook was released, it was missing seemingly basic features like calendar and messaging apps. In addition, the 7-inch format wasn't exactly a good fit for enterprise users, who have largely gravitated to the more powerful 10-inch model used by the iPad.
And finally, there just aren't any good apps for it. Tablets are nothing without apps. That is the entire point of buying a tablet, and RIM just couldn't convince anyone otherwise.
As such, offering free tablets to developers just for putting an app on the platform is perhaps the only way to create any excitement for the product, even if it reeks of extreme desperation.