As a kid, I learnt two quotes which have stuck around in mind since then – If you start badly, it’s always going to be an uphill battle and secondly – First impression is the last impression. In that sense, I always believed that RIM’s PlayBook never had a chance of survival.
When RIM launched the PlayBook, there was no doubt that it was a massive failure of expectations. More bad news followed as the company was forced to recall 1,000 PlayBooks due to a faulty operating system. Though the company managed to clear inventory by continuously lowering the prices, it was clear that RIM’s grand PlayBook plan had gone all wrong.
Since then, there’s been no shortage of bad news for the Waterloo giant – dipping stock value, delayed product releases, job cuts and what not – clearly, things are way worse than anyone had anticipated.
Given its sorry state of affairs, RIM last week announced that it will discontinue selling the 16GB version of the PlayBook. The company though reaffirmed its commitment to the tablet segment and announced that it will continue to produce 32 and 64 GB versions of the device. Surely, it’s a matter of time now.
“RIM will no longer be making the 16GB model of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet,” the company said in a statement. “The 16GB PlayBook will continue to be available for distributors and retailers while quantities last. We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32GB and 64GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world. There is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32GB, 64GB), and as such we have decided to focus our efforts here.”
While some analysts believe this is actually good news, I beg to differ. For a start, RIM needs to learn some lessons on pricing. The PlayBook sold out in India when RIM hit the sweet price point. The company has sold decent volumes of the PlayBook in Canada, largely due to two major factors – the Be Canadian, Buy Canadian philosophy and the massive discounts on offer. I strongly believe the low-end tablet segment will thrive, at least, for the next couple of years and that’s where RIM should pay attention. Therefore, the decision to drop only the 16 GB PlayBook defies my conventional wisdom.
Last month, Cisco announced that that it would be discontinuing its Cius tablet. While the world continues to wait for the elusive iPad-killer tablet, one thing is clear – there’s no ‘tablet war‘ and there’s only one company that rules the roost.