Cheap BlackBerry Playbooks incoming

RIM to tackle poor uptake by pulling a TouchPad?

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RIM has hinted that it will cut the price of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet in a bid to combat poor sales.

During a profitable, but worryingly below par, quarterly earnings report, the Waterloo-based company admitted it had only shipped (not sold) 200,000 units of the PlayBook.

Now, the device could go the way of the HP TouchPad, which saw a dramatic bargain hunt when the company opted to cut its WebOS loses and reduce the tablet to just £89.

"In addition to the inventory on RIM's balance sheet, there is inventory in the channel that we will work through with our partners to sell through over the coming months," said CFO Brian Bidulka during a conference call.

Q2 woes sees profits slide

Despite posting net profits of $329m and earnings of $4.2bn for the second financial quarter of 2011, RIM's stock price took a battering due to the earnings being at the low-end of estimates.

CEO Mike Lazaridis also added that the BlackBerry Playbook sales were "well below expectations" but says the product remains in its infancy and RIM still expects it to perform well.

He says the new sales initiative will be coupled with more software updates, which will hopefully see RIM release the long-promised player that makes some Android apps compatible with the device.

So, do we expect a TouchPad-like fire sale as RIM bids to shift some of the inventory hanging over its neck? No. However, better deals will be out there for those on the look-out for a cut-price tablet.

After all, there's no telling how many of those 200,000 "shipped" PlayBooks are currently in the hands of consumers. Not enough, by the sounds of things.

Link: WSJ