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RIM Tries New Tactics To Push PlayBooks

Research In Motion entices people to buy its PlayBook tablet with lures including $100 gift cards and pledges to developers.
Research In Motion Is prepared to announce its second fiscal 2012 quarterly report in one week, on September 15. Surely, investors are looking for good sales figures for RIM's PlayBook tablet and its fresh crop of BlackBerrys. As if on cue, RIM has begun pushing the PlayBook with greater incentives.

This week, RIM launched a new promotion in order to help spur sales of its PlayBook tablet. The BlackBerry maker is offering $100 prepaid gift cards to existing BlackBerry users who purchase a PlayBook. The offer only applies to residents of the U.S. and Canada, and there is a limit of one $100 gift card per PlayBook (three total per household, but who on earth wants three PlayBooks?). This promotion ends September 22.

This sales stunt follows Best Buy's recent price drop of the PlayBook over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Best Buy sold the 16-GB PlayBook for $449.99, and both the 32-GB and 64-GB PlayBooks for $549.99. These discounts were geared to help the big box retailer move excess inventory of the 64-GB model.

If appealing to your wallet doesn't help, RIM is taking another tactic. It is sponsoring 50 developer meet-ups across the country over the coming weeks in order to convince Android developers to make their applications available on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

RIM said in a statement, "Android Player for BlackBerry PlayBook is supporting 50 Meetups across the country to get the word out about converting your Android App to run on the BlackBerry Tablet OS and host it in BlackBerry World. They're thrilled to have your Meetup participating in this program! In addition to having a local Blackberry rep come visit your Meetup, they're making a financial investment in your Meetup Group over the next 3 months to help your Organizer make it even better!" (RIM's over-use of exclamation points, not mine.)

Earlier this year, RIM said that the PlayBook will eventually be able to run applications designed for Google's Android platform in an emulator environment. That emulator is due to arrive later this year in a system update scheduled for the PlayBook. One of the criticisms of the PlayBook tablet is that there aren't enough applications available that can run on it. RIM expects Android developers to use its tools to make their applications function on the PlayBook.

In other words, RIM is putting some cash behind this effort to increase the number of applications available to the PlayBook--even if they come from the competition.

This second tactic won't pay off in the short-term, however, and won't have an impact on PlayBook sales (or sell-through) over the next seven days leading up to its quarterly report.

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