Before the holidays Research in Motion started slashing BlackBerry PlayBook prices by more than 50-percent. From time to time the price has gone back to normal, with a 16GB model priced at $499, but the company seemed to keep starting up the sale again, pricing the cheapest model at $199.

Now it looks like that could be the new permanent price for the 7 inch tablet.

BlackBerry PlayBook pricing

When RIM first started offering its tablet for $199 and up, the company had a habit of placing fine print below the price at the BlackBerry Store explaining when the promotion would end. Sure, that date kept changing around, but it was usually there.

The company also tended to show the original price with a line through the middle as well as the new price — suggesting that the price cuts were temporary.

But if you visit the PlayBook page at the BlackBerry Store now you only see the new prices, and the product description says the tablet has a “New Low Price.”

That means you can pick up a 16GB model for $199, a 32GB model for $249, or a 64GB model for $299 — and the prices aren’t likely to change soon.

It’s not just the BlackBerry Store offering the new prices. You can also find $199 PlayBook tablets from retailers including Best Buy, MacMall, and TigerDirect.

This could be an indication that RIM is preparing to launch an updated model soon… but it could also just be an indication that RIM has figured out the best way to sell tablets is to make them really, really cheap.

The BlackBerry PlayBook features a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, a 1 GHz TI OMAP 4 dual core processor, 1GB of RAM, and BlackBerry PlayBook operating system.

It’s basically what you would get if you took an Amazon Kindle Fire, doubled the storage and RAM, added cameras, and replaced the Android operating system with BlackBerry PlayBook OS.

Oh yeah, it also came out half a year before the Kindle Fire — but both devices are manufactured by the same Taiwanese company, which explains why they look like they were separated at birth.

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4 replies on “BlackBerry PlayBook price drops to $199… permanently?”

  1. Excellent article by Brad Linder, again. As a proud owner of BB Playbook I did a small write-up on this in my blog. Also, I did a similar comparison (Fire vs. NOOK Tablet, winner is: BB Playbook) back in October, you are welcome to have a look: Sorry again for an obvious plug of my blog, but I have a burning feeling that this $199 price for BB Playbook if put at the Kindle Fire launch date could turn the things completely. 

  2. In direct sunlight, the Playbook is still quite readable similarly to the iPad display. And it is small, I like everything in small packages.

  3. Hmm. Well, given the two cameras, extra HDMI port, and additional 512MB of RAM (which is double the Fire and Nook, and worth a lot when it comes to running apps concurrently) then I think it’s time to officially declare the Playbook as the best buy among 7″ tablets — certainly when it comes to the hardware specs.

    Don’t you just love competition?

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