01:50 PM

PlayBook Tablet: Retailers Cut Prices, RIM Cuts Hope

Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook can be had for $200 off list price. But engineers have dampened expectations for the tablet's Android capabilities.

After RIM reported disappointing BlackBerry PlayBook tablet sales in its fiscal second quarter earnings on September 15, many expected price cuts to follow. The tablet was originally priced at $499, $599, and $699 for the 16-GB, 32-GB, and 64-GB versions, respectively.

Both Office Depot and Staples are offering price cuts. The retail outlets are taking $100 off at the register, dropping the out-of-pocket cost to $399, $499, and $599 (before taxes). If $100 doesn't sound like much to you, you can get an additional $100 off from both outlets in the form of a gift card at Office Depot and a rebate at Staples. Laughably, the discounts are only available until October 1, which is this Saturday.

Bottom line, you can get the PlayBook for $200 off if you don't mind working for it. Only you can answer the internal dialog about why you'd want a PlayBook at this point, especially after you read what I have to report next.

RIM held a developer event in Europe this week. RIM engineers explained to developers in attendance just what the PlayBook will--and won't--be able to do when it comes to Android apps. The news, as reported by Thinq, is not very encouraging.

First, a quick refresher. RIM announced earlier this year that it would dramatically expand the availability of apps to the QNX-based PlayBook by offering Android-based apps. In order to make this happen, RIM is releasing an emulator program later this year that acts as a runtime for Android apps. Instant access to the Android Market, right? So we thought--incorrectly.

Here's a list of what won't work: Android Live Wallpapers; SIP and SIP VoIP; applications that contain widgets; any apps built using the Android Native Development Kit; apps that contain more than one activity tied to the launcher. Also not working? Google Maps, any sort of in-app billing, the Android text-to-speech engine, and the Android cloud-to-device messaging service.

It is impossible to say how many Android applications this will render useless on the PlayBook, but you can bet it will be a significant number.

This is disappointing, to say the least. However, given the difficult task RIM assigned itself in hoping to port Android apps to the PlayBook, it isn't all that surprising, either.

Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Apprentice
10/6/2011 | 1:59:36 PM
re: PlayBook Tablet: Retailers Cut Prices, RIM Cuts Hope
It's an entirely new product line and revenue stream. I wonder if this 'analyst' would have criticized RIM for not releasing a tablet too? Normally creating new product lines that make money is a positive thing, funny how the RIM bashers don't apply this logic but choose a double standard. Going from 0 to 1 million tablets in 1 year sounds impressive to me, how about you?
User Rank: Apprentice
10/2/2011 | 1:54:19 PM
re: PlayBook Tablet: Retailers Cut Prices, RIM Cuts Hope
i read in this article a report which says that RIM has lost hopes of sustaining its tablet, as the retailers have offered a massive price cut at it. or may be because of kindle fire but the question this the end for playbook?
User Rank: Apprentice
9/30/2011 | 1:22:32 PM
re: PlayBook Tablet: Retailers Cut Prices, RIM Cuts Hope
I have read your article and did not understand where exactly does the part with the "hope" come into play.

What hope exactly did RIM cut? Or is it just your spin on things?

Speaking of Android apps, if it's those that drain the battery, provide eye-candy already available or are insecure I don't want them installed on my PB.
(the bit with the in-app billing falls into "insecure", same as those trying to access/change your device settings, location, etc)

The widgeds are useless on a true multi-tasking system.
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends to Watch in Financial Services
IT pros at banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and other financial services organizations are focused on a range of issues, from peer-to-peer lending to cybersecurity to performance, agility, and compliance. It all matters.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of July 17, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.