Best Buy Drops Price Of RIM PlayBook

Electronics retailer Best Buy discounts the Research In Motion PlayBook tablet by $50 to $150 to clear inventory.
What's Labor Day weekend in the U.S. without lots of holiday sales? Best Buy is looking to cash in on some of the retail rush with a significant price drop on the RIM PlayBook tablet.

For a limited time, the 16GB PlayBook is available for $449.99, a $50 discount. The 32GB PlayBook has been discounted to $549.99, also a $50 discount. Most interesting, however, is that the 64GB PlayBook has been discounted a whopping $150, down to $549.99. The 64GB PlayBook normally sells for $700.

The significant price cut clearly indicates that the 64GB model is not selling that well. Since it will share a price point with the 32GB model, Best Buy is sure to sell more of the 64GB version than the 32GB version this weekend.

While the discount is nice, it's not as steep as the discount recently applied to the HP TouchPad, which sold for $99 after HP decided to kill off its tablet business. Will the $50 and $150 cuts have a major impact on sales of RIM's PlayBook? Probably not. The device has already been in the market for slightly more than four months.

The sale might help improve RIM's PlayBook sales numbers a bit at a strategically important time, however. RIM is prepared to announce its second quarter fiscal 2012 results on September 15. RIM revealed on its earnings call in June that it shipped 550,000 PlayBooks. The September 15 earnings report will give the industry crucial perspective on how well the PlayBook has been selling.

Pricing has been a key issue facing tablets competing against the Apple iPad, which sells for $499 to $829, depending on configuration. HTC recently debuted the JetStream, which will sell for $699.99 with a two-year AT&T contract. The JetStream's full retail price is $849.99. The JetStream will be available at AT&T stores this weekend.

Motorola ran into pricing trouble with its Xoom tablet, which sold $599 and $799 at launch for the Wi-Fi and 3G versions, respectively. The device was not a big seller.

We're still somewhat in the dark on sales figures for the LG G-Slate, HTC Flyer/View 4G, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. All of these devices fall in the $499 to $800 price range, depending on what options are picked.

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