Over the last few weeks we’ve seen retailers in the US and Canada offer the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet for prices as low as $199. Now Research in Motion is following suit. You can pick up a PlayBook from the BlackBerry Store for as little as $199.
That price will snag you a 16GB model which has a list price of $499 — although it’s been selling for $299 at some stores for the past few months.
RIM has also temporarily dropped the price of a 32GB PlayBook from $599 to $299. A 64GB model normally costs $699, but it’s on sale this week for $399.
The sale runs through December 3rd, and it’s RIM’s latest attempt to drum up sales for its 7 inch tablet. Last month the company also launched a buy 2, get 1 free promotion.
On paper, the PlayBook is a pretty nifty little tablet. It has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS display, a 1 GHz TI OMAP 4430 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, front and rear cameras, HDMI and USB ports, and 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1.
But the tablet has been slow to catch on with consumers due to some limitations. Half a year after launch, the BlackBerry PlayBook still doesn’t offer native contact, calendar, or email applications — you need to pair it with a BlackBerry phone over Bluetooth to access those services or BlackBerry Messenger.
There also aren’t very many high quality third party apps available for the platform.
RIM is working to address those issues with a major software update. BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet OS 2.0 is due out early next year and it will bring support for some Android applications as well as native communications and calendar apps. A public beta version of OS 2.0 is already available.
In terms of hardware, the BlackBerry PlayBook is nearly identical to the Amazon Kindle Fire which was released last week. They’re both manufactured by the same Taiwanese company. But the PlayBook has twice as much RAM, more storage space, and more ports than the Kindle Fire. At $199, it’s the same price as the Kindle Fire… but it runs BlackBerry software instead of Android.