If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a BlackBerry PlayBook when the 7 inch tablet was on sale for under $200, fear not. A handful of retailers are offering the tablet for $199 and up again starting today.
Staples has the 16GB model for $199, a 32GB tablet for $299, and a 64GB version for $399.
The BlackBerry PlayBook has a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and, 1GB of RAM, and a 1 GHz TI OMAP4 dual core processor. When RIM introduced the tablet earlier this year, it was priced at $499 and up, but sales have been sluggish recently and the company has been offering very deep discounts in order to move more units.
The biggest problem with the PlayBook at this point is probably the fact that it runs BlackBerry Tablet OS. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent operating system with a nice web browser and excellent support for multitasking. But there aren’t very many third party apps available for the platform and RIM still hasn’t even rolled out native email, contact, or calendar apps for the PlayBook. You need to pair it with a BlackBerry phone to use those functions.
A few months ago the PlayBook might have seemed like a bad buy even at $199. But recently RIM rolled out BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 beta, which adds support for some Android applications.
It’s also now possible to:
A recent update to PlayBook OS 2.0 beta breaks root access, but improves overall performance. Whether you plan to root the tablet or not, the addition of support for Android apps makes this little tablet a heck of a lot more useful than it used to be.
The PlayBook is manufactured by the same Taiwanese company that makes the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is why the two tablets look so much alike. But the PlayBook has twice the RAM, more storage space, a microphone and front and rear cameras. The Kindle Fire, on the other hand, runs a version of the Android operating system and offers tight integration with Amazon’s digital media stores for music, movies and apps.
Right now you can pick up either the Kindle Fire or the BlackBerry PlayBook for $199. One gives you better hardware, while the other arguably provides a better software experience.