back to article Price-slashing fails to ignite PlayBook sales

RIM's little-loved fondleslab is failing to get the tills ringing, even after significant price cuts, channel partners have claimed. BlackBerry PlayBook prices were cut by $200 in the US last month as retailers cried out for something extra to help shift mountain mounting stock levels estimated at some half a million units …


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  1. RobE

    Barriers to Entry

    The RIM Name has been tarnished. The RIM product line is aimed at corporations (not consumers that play). the strategy on this one is all wrong. I am 99% certain this product will be a complete flop after this.

    1. Northern Fop

      "99% certain it will be a complete flop"

      You're right, but it's like predicting that a horse might not win a race when it's in last place and going the wrong way round the course...

      1. cloudgazer

        A horse that can compete the track backwards might actually turn around though. This is more like a horse with 3 legs

  2. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "The main sticking point is the lack of features – unless tethered to a BlackBerry: there's no contact database, native email, chat app or 3G connectivity."

    This fondleslab is a fondlebrick. Next...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You CAN tether a Playbook to a non-BB phone.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Maybe, but

        can you get email that way? Firing up the web browser and visiting or doesn't count.

  3. dotdavid
    Thumb Down


    I think the main problems compared to the Touchpad are;

    1) The RIM OS on the Playbook is rubbish, unlike WebOS on the Touchpad which is actually reasonably usable. As RobE says, there isn't really any particular attraction for consumers or businesses as the consumers don't get BBM or whatever and the businesses don't get the enterprise tools. Plus it looks like even RIM are thinking of dropping it, why should people buy it?

    2) There's no real hope for an Android release. A lot of more technical users bought the Touchpad solely because there was a high chance Android would be hacked onto it, ensuring future software updates independent of fickle HP. I haven't heard of any similar thing going on with the Playbook.

    3) Playbook is selling for more than the Touchpad's fire sale.

  4. James 51

    I am waiting to see what the prices are like when my contract is up for renewal. Until the rebate these were too expensive to get bundled with phones and not many people are going to pay for one out right. If I new that it would support the next version of of OS blackberry is developing that would make it an eaiser choice to make.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wow £150 off

    £250 quid for the cheapest 7" version is still effing expensive for a tricket in todays economy

  6. Dazzler65

    It really is a nice little machine though...

    We bought a 16Gb Playbook last week when the price was reduced to £250 at PC World.

    It's a lovely little device - it's feels like a premium product when you're holding and using it. The gesture control is genius - if Apple had developed it people would be fawning from here to eternity about it!

    The main criticism I have with it is the limited content compared to the quality content available on my iPad. However, I'm not really a gamer and for what I use the iPad for I could get by with the more pocket friendly Playbook . At £250 it's a bargain and far superior for the everyday user than the Android 7" tablets - IMHO.

    This comes from a household with me owning an iPad 2 and an Advent Vega (really not worth £200 and a bad way to explore Android), my daughter clinging onto her 3G Samsung Galaxy Tab (still not nice), and my Blackberry loving wife looking after the Playbook.

    If you're not sure about buying a tablet and you own a Blackberry have a look at the Playbook - I dont think you'll be disappointed.

    1. Andrew Baines Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Me too

      Very pleased with it so far. Wife needed something for her colour text books without having to carry a big screen.

    2. Jedibeeftrix

      "At £250 it's a bargain and far superior for the everyday user than the Android 7" tablets - IMHO."

      Very much agreed.

      I bought one too at PCworld for £250 last week, and it has actually be a joy to use.

      I have a transformer for work purposes, and i don't like it, but i was surprised to find that the missus (as an android smartphone owner), found the various android tablets clunky and unintuitive.

      In contrast, she took to the playbook straight away, no contest, a playbook it was.

    3. Patrick 14

      Yeah I had a Got a used Acer A500, what a slow pile of cr-p that was, no really buggy as hell, even when typing text in to any box on the web broswer it crawled. sold it on ebay took a 90 loss to get rid of it 5 days after getting it.

      I was going to get the playbook before the acer but shop said acer better.

      two days ago I got my playbook. As I found they had lowered the Price, And Compaired with the Acer its a Rocket.

      Only grip is games on it cost about 10 times more, £4.99 for one when only 60 odd p on Android

      So yesterday Got a Used Motorola Atrix. for sat nav and games and only £190. as I have loads of apps for it.

      I do like the Playbook its the right size and feels great, And yeah I know not many have been sold.

      If people tried it for a while instead of a quick store demo, it might grow on them. stores are letting people down.

      I was in Best buy and they never had one working right and internet use was a no no, And if you go into the likes of PC World and ask to see internet speed on a device, you might have well have asked them to donate there own Blood. but my guess is to stop people from finding out how sh-t low price netbooks are lol back in the day.

      Only thing that pissed me off was you cannot use it until it has checked online for an update, then you have to wait for a Just under 400mb download and install. I'm lucky I'm on fibre to cab @ 40 mbps but not everyone is. So if no internet via wifi no playbook use.

      And the Video preview it has on it looks bloody good too. I keep playing it..

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's pants. Even if Blackberry didn't faceplant so hard lately, it is one of the more underwhelming tablet options out there, given the idiotic attempt to make users rely on owning a Blackberry phone again. Missing features just seem... shoddy.

  8. Thomas 4

    Why is this such as surprise to them?

    Remember back in the 90s when there was a huge fight going on between Palm and HP for control of the PDA market? The reason why Palm lost was because HP were making big advances in wireless technology and in particular the integration of telephony systems into PDAs. As the smartphone market grew exponentially, the PDA market dwindled for the simple reason that people didn't want to carry around multiple devices to do one task - namely internet browsing.

    After all, why shell out for £300 fondleslab *and* a £300 phone to browse the internet when the £300 phone can do it by itself or a £450 intergrated slab can do it by itself.

  9. goldcd

    Who would actually want one?

    Can't believe any individual user would choose a BB tablet over an ipad/android one.

    RIMs hope was surely they could sell these by the thousands to corporate procurers over the same boozy lunch they flog the actual BBs.

    If RIM really want to shift these things, might I suggest they just chuck up a decent bounty to get cyanogen available on it and then flog 'em too cheap to argue (although I suspect there's no need to go quite as low as HP did).

    1. Jedibeeftrix

      Can't believe any individual user would choose a BB tablet over an android one.

      believe it, i find android to be a clunky and unintuitive mess, particularly on the tablets, whereas the playbook is a joy to use.

      never owned a blackberry in my life, but it does feel similar to use to my Nokia N9.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Told you so moment.

    Just whose bright idea was it to tether it to a BB before any good functionality could be accessed? This is a classic text book example of how to (not) plan a product well and how to unmarket it successfully.

    This looks like a last starw for RIM, in not having a generic mass market appeal product, especially in the age of Android open source. ANd then, as rightly pointedout, NO 3G, NO native email etc (whcih RIM was known for) .

    Who would want one?

    1. tmTM

      Some pleb who wants an odd tablet with lots of missing features.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Business 101 (aka Ellison Business Plan)

    Build a better product/experience and customers will pay for it. If you are slashing prices to gain market share bad move. If you have the latest wizbang gadget and or service and the barrier to entry is to great for competition, then slash prices to disrupt the market.

    Tables have been around, PDAs have been around.

    Apple made a better user experience and designed a package that people (masses) wanted - and priced it $700 USD. And they sell. Google made a low-cost OS alternative that is catching up. So Samsung/HTC and others are able to a product for..... $700USD dollars and people (masses) want it.

    RIM and HP - tried to copy and got their assess handed to them.

    1. Hardcastle the ancient

      Like my old dad said:

      To break into an established market, you need to be one or both of:

      * twice as good

      * half the price.

      Fail, and indeed, Fail.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I reading correctly?

    This thing has no native email?

    Isn't a tablet used 45% for web browsing, 45% for email, 5% for farting around?

    1. Anonymous John

      That leaves 5% unaccounted for.

  13. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Too expensive still and 7 inch tablets are too small IMHO. I have a 7 inch cheapo Android tablet and the screen isn't big enough for what I intended to do with it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They may as well give them away or 'do a HP' and make it £99 but even then...

  15. JeffyPooh

    Various tidbits

    @AudiGuy - The PlayBook and iPhone Bluetooth profiles are not compatible. I don't know enough about it to lay the blame, but my Sony P-Series netbook works just fine with the iPhone providing Bluetooth connectivity to the 'net. So I know that the iPhone can be made to work with other devices, and the iPhone was 'a given' when the PlayBook was designed. So...

    As I've mentioned elsewhere, the PlayBook can't even parse the Gmail webmail interface. I have no idea why, but it doesn't work.

    For surfing the web, it's fine. Lovely, in fact. Much better than iDevices that refuse to play nice with Flash.

    It also does a fantastic job playing HD movies. The 16:9 screen fits better than 4:3. What I've not yet found is an App to access files (e.g. movies) from local Wifi network attached storage. It would be nice if it could simply get the movies over local wifi from the NAS.

    One doesn't need to spend much time to reach the bottom of the App World. Several hours of browsing and you're literally done, complete, finished.

    At $300, it's not a controversial procurement option. It's petty cash and a very good value. But at $499, one might as well get a $520 iPad.

    What bugs me is that some people make it out to be a religious conversion. Get over it.

    Sure, Smartphones with their contracts and monthly fees are something that needs to be very carefully considered (adding up to thousands of dollars over a few years). Normal humans can;t afford to have three or four phones on the go at once. But a wifi tablet does not involve a lifetime commitment. I have a PlayBook and someday I'll probably get an iPad 'n'. In the meantime I might get an Android tablet.

    Geesh, tablets are 'beer money' folks...

    Y opinion MV.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A horse that can compete the track backwards might actually turn around though. This is more like a horse with 3 legs"

    This RIM 'horse' is on it's way to the processing plant to be dog food.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon (volume / low end) and Apple (value / high end) will have the tablet / ebook reader market sewn up pretty soon plus a few odd Android tablets - but this Playbook it dead in the water. They will be giving them away with Blackberry phones before binning them completely.

    What's the bet we never see this software update next year...

  18. Hardcastle the ancient

    For Glod's sake, lads, have some paitience!

    They slashed the prices a week ago and are already dissapointed that the sales haven't picked up?

    People have other things to do with their lives that wait in the starting blocks for a fondle slab sale, particularly since you have already missed the boat. You are not going to change a year-built opinion in less than 7 days!

    What is it with these high-tech CEOs and their impatience? They pre-announce the things a year before they ship, and we are supposed to sit and twiddle our thumbs while they get round to it, then they expect us to go all pavlov's dog, having been dissapointed enough already, when they move the price point from silly down to daft?

    Apotheker kicked the whole product line out because it didn't kill apple in a couple of months. Deluded. Now this bloke thinks a bit off a heavily over-priced and under-performing doorstop will revolutionise the market? Between the first IPud and now the world's consumers have taken a bath over tax, employment prospects, and savings. The early adopters have already adopted apple, the market followers are going to (quite rightly) follow the biggest herd.

    Grow up. Just Grow up.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I have a transformer for work purposes, and i don't like it, but i was surprised to find that the missus (as an android smartphone owner), found the various android tablets clunky and unintuitive."

    If you loved her you would have bought her an iPad ;)

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