PlayBook Sales Take Off Due to Massive Discounts

by Jordan Richardson on November 21, 2011

Research in Motion’s PlayBook is being sold at massive discounts at Canadian retailers like Best Buy and Sears. The tablets are being sold at around $300 off the price, which means that the 16GB version is around $200 at most major retailers. The 32GB PlayBook sells at $300 and the 64GB is $400.

RIM noted that the “official retail price” of the PlayBook is unchanged, however.

“RIM has various promotional plans in place with retail partners that are intended to help drive further sell-through of the BlackBerry PlayBook. A number of promotions will run during the holiday buying season and are being implemented in the form of instant rebates and gift cards within the consumer channel,” the company said in a statement.

Derek Szeto of says that the new round of discounts have really gotten the attention of shoppers. “It’s been crazy popular, at $200 I think the value is pretty incredible,” he says. A post about the PlayBook logged nearly 3,900 replies and over 333,000 views. “This is a huge, huge, very, very popular post and there’s tons of discussion over a very short period of time. It’s the most active thread in our community right now by far, it’s not even close.”

Obviously there’s a lot of opportunity for snarky commentary about how the PlayBook can’t take on the mighty iPad and how its popularity has the shelf life of Kim Kardashian’s marriage. Indeed, RIM shipped only 200,000 PlayBooks to retailers during the last quarter – 60 percent below analyst expectations.

With RIM running in to more difficulties than imaginable, any significant retail movement is a good thing. Their stock price has tanked by more than 70 percent and the transition to the BBX operating system has been as disagreeable as the line-up at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Recent research has RIM pegged at holding only nine percent of the market in the United States, although the catch here may be the fact that most carriers have only just begun to offer RIM’s smartphones and products.

And through the lashing storm, RIM admirably says it’s standing by its tablet. Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is committed to the PlayBook and is not looking to phase it out like HP did with its TouchPad.

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