RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook has been given an official price drop in the US. The 7in tablet is available from RIM's own online store for up to $400 off its retail price.
2011 was a tough year for tablets other than Apple's iPad 2, and RIM's solution is to flog the thing on the cheap. The BlackBerry PlayBook is now available from RIM's store from $299, or £249 in blighty. These prices represent a massive step-down from the original RRPs, $499 and £399 respectively.
They also aren't the cheapest you can nab a PlayBook for, either. Not satisfied with these rock-bottom prices, key retailers have slashed them even further in both the US and UK. The DSG Group, which includes Dixons, PC World and Currys, sells the 16GB Playbook for £169. Carphone Warehouse offers an identical deal. In the US, Amazon sells the same model for $249.
PC World's listing for the 16GB PlayBook
As low as these prices are, the PlayBook has not sold out - and these prices have been in place for several days. If RIM was expecting levels of demand on-par with those of the HP Touchpad "fire sale" last year, it must be disappointed.
The BlackBerry Playbook launched in April 2011, and its sales were disappointing throughout the year, inviting speculation that RIM would drop support for the 7in tablet. A chilly commercial reception was not helped by issues with its launch - including very basic missing elements including a native email app.
However, a small but well-formed dev scene has sprung up around the device, with the primary aim of bringing Android to the tablet. It's not here yet, though. Version 2.0 of the QNX OS will reportedly bring official Android app support later this year, but in limited fashion - ruling-out many of the app store's most popular apps. As lovely a piece of hardware the PlayBook is, think twice about purchasing unless you're a true tech tinkerer. For more, read our BlackBerry PlayBook review.