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Blackberry Businesses Handhelds Portables Hardware

RIM Drops Playbook Price By 66% 302

Posted by timothy
from the harsh-logic dept.
YokimaSun writes "Following on from the news that RIM's partner was pulling the plug on its BlackBerry phones, RIM announced it was discontinuing the 16GB version of its playbook, PC Gaming News are reporting that the PlayBook is being discounted down by as much as 66% which is adding to the demise of RIM's attempt at the tablet market. Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?"
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RIM Drops Playbook Price By 66%

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  • Biased much? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Quakeulf (2650167)
    From the summary it sounds like an advertisement for the iPad.
    • Re:Biased much? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:33AM (#40398055) Journal

      Yep.

      Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?

      And yes.

      Around half of the tablet users are now on Android, according to a recent study brought out by the Online Publisher’s Association or OPA. To be exact, 51% of them have the Google-branded device, 52% are on iOS tablets, while 8% are on those with other platforms, such as Blackberry OS.

      • by fa2k (881632)

        To be exact, 51% of them have the Google-branded device, 52% are on iOS tablets, while 8% are on those with other platforms, such as Blackberry OS.

        Did someone put a Google sticker on their iPad or did they install iOS on an Android tablet?

        • by RoboRay (735839)

          In breaking news, it is no longer illegal to have both an iPad and an Android tablet.

      • How about figures based on sales numbers not some study of a couple thousand people where the selection criteria and error margin is left out.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        So 51+52+8 = 111, it was a multiple choice study and 11% has more than one tablet? That sounds way too high for me.

      • Re:Biased much? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nemyst (1383049) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:49AM (#40398231) Homepage

        I know business degrees don't usually require you to know how to count, but it's the first time I've seen marketshare stats touted around that add up to 111%.

        As much as I'd like that to be the case (competition is good), I'd have issue trusting numbers with such flaws. Either it's quoted out of context or the people who did it flunk stats 101.

      • by milkmage (795746)

        market penetration is nothing without profit.

        • by toriver (11308)

          What, you never heard the one about "we're losing money on every unit but we'll make it back in volume"? :)

      • by shmlco (594907)

        "To be exact, 51% of them have the Google-branded device, 52% are on iOS tablets, while 8% are on those with other platforms, such as Blackberry OS."

        To be exact... no. 28% of the 51% are Kindle Fires, and they are not "Google-branded" devices, they're Amazon-branded devices. In fact, they're not even specifically sold as Android tablets, even though they run a forked version of 2.3.

      • by godawful (84526)

        Or, you have studies like this.
        http://gigaom.com/apple/android-tablets-ipads-still-see-wide-gap-in-mobile-web-use/ [gigaom.com]
        Which say the complete opposite thing. Now granted, this study does exclude nook and fire, but apple sold 55 million ipads through 2011, and around 13 million the first quarter, so nearly 70 million total.. I think we'd know if the nook and fire had sold enough to really balance that lead shown in _this_ study out.

    • Re:Biased much? (Score:5, Informative)

      by WankersRevenge (452399) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:16AM (#40398587)

      Nope ... it's just the editor trolling for comments, for the story itself isn't that interesting. This has been happening a lot since Malda left. Apple has become a rather polarizing issue on slashdot so any article with even the slightest mention of Apple tends to draw a lot of people out of the woodwork to throw feces at each other. It must be great for ad revenue, but as a long time reader, I'm quite bored with it and find myself skipping over a lot Apple related discussion even though I'm an iOS dev.

      These days I find myself more at Ars than I do here which is a shame since I used value the discussions here in such high regard. Oh well.

      • by catseye (96076)

        Dude, stop kidding yourself. Slashdot has always been a laughing stock, and Rob Malda, et al. never took it particularly seriously, despite any protestations they may have had to the contrary.

        It's like 4chan, but without the funny.

  • by rbrausse (1319883) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:18AM (#40397863)

    not that I'm highlty interested in a playbook - but does RIM have a contingency plan for insolvency and still outstanding product warranties?

    • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:23AM (#40397937)

      Yes, it will all be nullified by the bankruptcy proceedings.

    • I believe they're sitting on a large body of cash and in no danger of going under any time soon.

      What I want to know is how they've fallen so quickly? Yes, Apple and Android have taken up the marketshare RIM once enjoyed, but of a much larger market than was around when they ruled the roost.

      Why is RIM completely unable to use the larger market that exists to sell more smartphones (yes, I know this story is about tablets but...)?

      • Because their phones are clunky and offer nothing you can't get elsewhere. BES is not really a selling point these days.

        • That's not an explanation, that's an observation. BB has had years to fine tune its phones, to make them fit into the newer market. The fact that many of its phones are clunky shows they haven't done this, or haven't done it enough.

          Why?

          • by Xeno man (1614779)
            Because they ruled the market first as they were the only one. When you control 100% of the market share, there is no return on improving your product because you can't capture more market share, so you focus on selling. When competition arrived with better products you can do nothing but loose market shares. Increasing sales becomes the goal to return to former glory days so product improvement still falls to the wayside. Now RIM is so far behind they are doing nothing but trying to catch up while still ma
            • by Gilmoure (18428)

              Some tech guy once said "It's better to cannibalize our own sales then let someone else do it." or something to that end.

          • by poofyhairguy82 (635386) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @10:06AM (#40398431) Journal

            I think there are a few reasons why RIM didn't catch up.

            Part of it was complacency. Upper management believed for far too long that RIM was unbeatable, and by the time they actually changed course it was too late.

            Part of it was a lack of talent. RIM tried to make an all touch screen phone early on (the Storm came out in 2008) and it was terrible. By the Storm 2 it was obvious that the development team at RIM couldn't handle a keypad-less world, and that BB's OS couldn't keep up with the iPhone.

            Part of it was poor choices. RIM worked to change OSes to fix that fact that the old BB OS didn't handle touch very well, but they made the mistake of biting on the iPad hype and they put out a tablet with the new OS before a smartphone with the new OS. The tablet failed miserably, which lost all momentum for RIM's new platform.

            Part of it was a lack of vision. RIM has had some good ideas, they just lack the vision to take them that extra step. They had the first great communication platform with BBM, but they didn't think to make it seamless with texting like Apple did iMessage. They basically had the popular Kindle Fire before Amazon did, but they didn't think to try and take the "cheaper than iPad market" until it was too late.

            And finally part of it was the market they catered to. Business users are often not a fan of rapid change, especially if that means the IT department has to redo how executives get their email every year. RIM ignored the consumer market for too long- when the iPhone started getting tons of fun apps you got the sense that RIM was happy its phone wasn't a "toy." By the time Apple's "toy" had added in some business functionality to encompass RIM's target market, RIM had nothing fun to offer consumers and fight Apple on their own turf. By the time they had their fun "toy" device (the Playbook, its in the name) they had to rush it out so quickly that it completely didn't fit their core market (it didn't even have email). Hence today's news.

            • by Gilmoure (18428)

              Yup, we're finding that our IT ticket system's mobile client only works on BB's with keyboards. The touch screen ones don't let you toggle stuff on the system. 'course, this ticket system only has a web front end and it's heavy Flash interface. Kinda sucks balls.

              • You should try OTRS (http://otrs.org). It's a very capable ticket system and has a well behaved web front end and a decent iPhone client as well.
        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Actually the BES is their strong point. Rim should transition to enterprise mobile management and set up their .bes to monitor/control all platforms' mobile devices.

          'Course, MS is hoping to get their foot in the door, mobile wi, by leveraging their enterprise management tie ins.

      • I believe they're sitting on a large body of cash and in no danger of going under any time soon.

        It is a public company... no reason to "believe" or guess...

        1.77 Billion [yahoo.com] and falling.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Classic innovator's dilemma + lack of willingness to take risk to compete. aka classic big corporation fear of risk = competitors jump in quickly and take over. RIM hasn't been competing in almost 7-10 years, even beyond android they were never competitive in comparison to phones such as motorola's line of Iden 7&8 series phones and the Nokia's before that. All they ever had was the checkbox of "enterprise friendly". which is now expected of all companies and no longer a selling point for RIM.
        As a simil

      • by Octorian (14086)

        They are using the "larger market" to sell more smartphones. The problem is that most of that market is outside of the US, and thus completely ignored by the US-centric press during their weekly rounds of RIM-bashing.

        • No they aren't. In their own statements their global sales are in a slump. If the were selling more phones their head of global sales wouldn't have resigned in May because of... poor sales.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Up through about mid 2010 their total userbase was still growing, but slowly. With a few exceptions like Dec 2011, they've been losing users even in the face of a growing market. Basically, even people who own and like BlackBerry find the competition more compelling. Because the vast majority of the cost is the carrier data fees they can't compete on price. Of cours if they were willing to move down market to the prepay carriers and go back to their strong suit: email and texting they could be a dominan

      • by alen (225700)

        RIM's sales are actually dropping now, not just a smaller piece of a larger market. they are now burning cash

        RIM was good for email, that's it. app world sucked.

        MS Exchange email is much better on my iphone and droid. i usually get the full email and not a fragment. i can read large emails in the NYC subway.

        and my iphone has apps. yesterday my wife was worried that the kid's heart was beating too fast. no worry, there is an app for that. i measured his pulse and it was OK

        oh, and most iphone apps work outsid

      • by Tridus (79566)

        Smartphones are part tool, part fashion accessory. RIM's phones completely fail at the fashion accessory part today. They're simply not the "it" device anymore. That sent sales in the consumer space into the tank.

        On the other hand, the phones are also clunky when it comes to serious app use. They're really good as *phones*, but a lot of people don't actually make many phone calls on their smartphones and instead use them as small computers.

        • They also fail at being a useful tool as well. Almost no one thinks BES is a selling point these days, their Exchange support sucks, their touchscreen phones are terrible and even their hardware meyboard phones have lately been sub-par. They have no really compelling product and the Crackberry dinosaurs are an ever shrinking group.

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        believe they're sitting on a large body of cash and in no danger of going under any time soon.

        What I want to know is how they've fallen so quickly?

        Probably because they sat on that large body of cash for years and years, failed to invest it in improving their product, and hardly improved the OS between 2006 and 2010 (largely just bug fixes and better screens (color, then higher resolution) as they came down in price), meanwhile Apple and Google were dumping hundreds of millions of dollars in to their produ

  • It's possible (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:18AM (#40397869)

    Someone can beat the iPad. It will need to be substantially better (nicer UI, better hardware, longer battery life, etc...) at the same, or lower price.

    Another problem is Ecosystem - Apple has a fantastic selection of movies, music, apps, etc... The closest competitor in that area is Amazon, which is probably why the Fire is the only tablet gaining significant market share against the iPad.

    • Re:It's possible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jimicus (737525) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:23AM (#40397925)

      Lose the fixation on price.

      Seriously, it's dangerous. The entire PC industry has spent twenty years concentrating on "Cheaper! Cheaper! Cheaper!", look where it's got us. About the only company in the computer industry that's really making good money is the one that doesn't repeat "Cheaper!" like some sort of mantra. Most of the others are making spectacularly low profits considering their turnover.

      • Re:It's possible (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Russ1642 (1087959) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:27AM (#40397979)
        This applies double to airline tickets. Consumers are the ones pushing for Cheaper! Cheaper! Cheaper! and look where that's got them.
      • Re:It's possible (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:42AM (#40398129) Homepage

        The entire PC industry has spent twenty years concentrating on "Cheaper! Cheaper! Cheaper!", look where it's got us.

        It took the price of a desktop PC from about $3600 to about $500 (in 2010 dollars) over that period, all while massively improving the technology. Yeah, that's a real loss.

        See, here's the thing: What's a loss for the PC industry in terms of higher margins is a win for every industry and consumer that uses PCs for anything. That competitive pressure would cause the price to go down isn't a flaw, it's capitalism doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing.

        • Sure, until it drives those OEMs out of business or forces them to sell their PC divisions because they can't make any money and 10s if not 100s of thousands of people get laid off in the process.

          • by JBMcB (73720)

            And yet there are still TONS of companies making PCs. Go figure.

            • Yeah because they've moved most of their PC building to China and laid off people domestically just to keep a hold of their meager margins.

              • And yet the company that makes the most money selling its PCs (ie Apple), still has computer production outsourced to Asia. If they moved their PC production back to the USA, they would not go bankrupt.

              • by nedlohs (1335013)

                Yeah because the Apple counter example to "cheaper, cheaper, cheaper" doesn't have any of their devices built in China. Not a one!

            • Re:It's possible (Score:4, Interesting)

              by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday June 21, 2012 @12:42PM (#40400877)

              Not really. There are tons of companies assembling pre-made parts into computers, but the actual construction of the things that go into a PC has slimmed right down to just a few large-scale manufacturers, with most of that happening in Asia.

              The entire operation operates on razor thin margins that can only really work with high volume sales.

              If you are a higher-level "manufacturer" like Dell, Toshiba, HP, Apple etc, then you are limited by what parts are available to you. Unless you have the purchasing power to make it worth while for a component maker to do something custom for you (like Apple) then having custom parts made for you is expensive and drives up costs to the end user - which is very tough in a race-to-the-bottom PC market. Subsequently, the PC you buy from Dell, HP, Toshiba or even Apple doesn't really differ all that much. The cases are different, but that's most of it. If you want ethernet, there's a small number of controllers for that, if you want audio, the same is true. If you want wireless, again you have a small selection of components.

              If anything is going to create a monoculture in the computing industry it will be the relentless drive from consumers that says PCs must be cheaper cheaper cheaper!

          • by roman_mir (125474)

            You people don't understand money at all, it's not about any specific price, it's about the spread between all costs and the sales price. That's all there is. If the components, elements, labour costs are falling, then the price of the final product is falling.

            It's not like any of these companies are operating at a loss, they are making money, but they are exactly what happens in free market - there are many competitors, they are really improving the quality of the product and finding ways to sell it at a l

            • by dkleinsc (563838)

              It's NOT all about jobs, we do NOT want jobs, we want the final product.

              You're generally right, but wrong about this point. We want the final product to be sure, but in order to afford to buy the final product we need jobs to earn the money to buy the final product, and right now what is scarce is not stuff but jobs. Hence the emphasis on jobs.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          It took the price of a desktop PC from about $3600 to about $500 (in 2010 dollars) over that period, all while massively improving the technology. Yeah, that's a real loss.

          See, here's the thing: What's a loss for the PC industry in terms of higher margins is a win for every industry and consumer that uses PCs for anything. That competitive pressure would cause the price to go down isn't a flaw, it's capitalism doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing.

          Yeah, that's why I can buy a 1080p monitor for $200,

      • It's not chanting it but it has everyone beat on price.

      • One of the nice things about Metro is that to get all the features you'll need:

        excellent quality and responsive touch screens with higher dpis
        a very good built in trackpad
        light weight

        All of which are expensive. So Microsoft is on your side.

      • by Herve5 (879674)

        That's not untrue. I for one would definitely have bought a playbook at their initial price, would it be only from being fond of Canada and afraid of monopolies.

        The thing that stopped me at the time, other than the lack of email software (now solved I understand), sadly was their key feature: the very secure way they protect data transmissions led them to hardcode many things in the Playbook, with the result simple ad filtering was rendered impossible.
        (no mangling in the background with the link to internet

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          I for one would definitely have bought a playbook at their initial price

          My personal advise ... don't.

          I bought one for my wife for Christmas through a friend who could get me the $99 employee pricing. The browser crashes a lot, the interface she finds a little clunky in places, and there's really not all that much software for it.

          Every time it locks up or otherwise pisses her off, I have to endure the withering glares from her.

          Overall, she's somewhat underwhelmed with it. And, judging by their downward spi

      • I agree. I think that's part of where the Android tablet market has failed to steal Apple's thunder. Android makers keep trying to compete on price, saying, "Hey, we make something kind of like an iPad, but it's $100 instead of $500!"

        And sure, there's a market for that. There are business applications, and I'm sure there are a bunch of happy Kindle Fire owners. On the other hand, they achieved that low price point by skimping on the hardware and design. The $100 Android tablet isn't as powerful and do

        • by jimicus (737525)

          If you want to beat Apple, make a better product.

          I don't think it's as simple as that.

          Like it or not, the iPad has become the gold-standard tablet. Most of these clones appear to have been developed through a very simplistic process: put together a tick-list of every feature on the iPad, the product is ready to sell when 70-80% of those features are met.

          The problem is, if you base your product around "75% of what the market leader can do", you'll always be 25% behind them. And when the market leader has the supply chain worked out so tight that your absol

  • I would buy it in a heartbeat.
  • I recently had a chance to play with a Playbook. It's a great piece of hardware. It's a great machine for $169. If somebody could get Android 4 running on it, these things technically should outperform anything else in it's price class.
    • by haus (129916) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:56AM (#40398311) Homepage Journal

      Who cares?

      If the only way these things will sell is at firesale prices, then you can guarantee that there will be no long term supply, hence not worth the ongoing efforts of a developer. Just bury them in the desert next to the unused Atari cartridges and move on with your life.

      • I take it by "long term" you mean "hardware lifespan". Well, my HTC Desire HD is currently on year 2 of community support through XDA Developers, CyanodenMod, many other AOSP communities and modders, despite lots of new hardware being available. If Playbook really does have great hardware for the time (as did the Desire HD), then it will continue to be supported.

        This is news for nerds, and nerds love to tinker with stuff. Where did you think you were?
        • by spacepimp (664856)

          But your phone runs Android, and was able to be unlocked, have the bootloader replaced and use custom ROMs. RIMs security measures and efforts have been very strong to prevent jailbreaking and modding these devices. They have made certain that those who buy these devices are locked into their shrinking and smoldering ecosystem.

    • by spacepimp (664856)

      The Kindle Fire was basically a rebranded PlayBook. That was about 8 months ago released for $199. To drop the prices to $169 now is to pay actually what the hard is really worth. The OS on here really doesn't have a value add, as the App selection and the future of it are all grim looking. Even at $169, I couldn't suggest this to anyone when a new Google branded tablet is nearing release next week at Google IO.

      • by Dzimas (547818)
        Rubbish. The myth that the PlayBook and Fire are equivalent was started by a blogger who thought they looked physically similar. Inside, the PlayBook is far better hardware. The Fire has only 8GB flash and 512 MB RAM, the base PlayBook has twice that. The PlayBook has a far better screen (viewing angle, contrast, color saturation), the PlayBook also has Bluetooth, a 5MP rear camera capable of shooting 1080p video, a 3MP front camera and a significantly better OS.
  • by mykepredko (40154) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:28AM (#40398005) Homepage

    How is reporting on an eBay sale (for the second time in what two, three days) "news" of any kind, much less for nerds?

    Now that it's happened twice, I wonder if /. is hurting so bad that they must resort to advertising stuff their putting on eBay.

    What's next, IBM is in trouble because you can find PCjrs on Craigslist for under $1.00?

    C'mon guys, pull it together,

    myke

  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:28AM (#40398009) Homepage

    Can anything stop the all conquering iPad?

    Of course something can. Something eventually will.

    If that something is a tablet, it'll need to be something that has measurably better hardware, a superior form factor, a superior operating system, and an easier media acquisition and management chain. "Easier" and "better" here mean "easier and better for regular users", not "easier and better for power users"; our days of supremacy in this regard are gone, folks. Failure to win on all of these points means you're starting with an inferior product against a superior product with a massive head start.

    If that something is not a tablet, it'll need to be something that renders the tablet paradigm obsolete; whether that something is Google's glasses project or something entirely different remains to be seen.

    If neither of the above happens, then we simply need to wait for the day when Apple loses its direction as a company and stops making devices that meet their current standards. Then it's open season.

  • by s7uar7 (746699) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @09:50AM (#40398245) Homepage
    I bought a Playbook just before Christmas when the price dropped to £169 but have just bought an iPad to replace it. The PB hardware and OS are good, what killed it for me were the apps. There's no Kindle, Skype or Netflix, for example, and on the BB app store $1 = £1, so what apps there are felt pricey.
  • by Targon (17348) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @11:22AM (#40399541)

    The problem for RIM has come from MANY sources when it comes to tablets. The first, that apps written for one Blackberry device do not automatically work on all Blackberry devices is a huge issue, and that makes it very difficult for developers and even consumers, because you never know if the app you want to use will work on your particular device. Now, tablet sales are almost directly in relation to how well the PHONES are selling, so the fact that RIM is having problems with their phone sales will also cause people not to bother buying the tablet.

    Palm/HP had the same problem, where a lack of good advertising, combined with a low consumer mindshare for the webOS phones meant that people were not running out to by a Touchpad until the price came down to the $200 range. The $200 and under range is where people are willing to spend the money on a tablet without being concerned about apps and such, while a $400+ price means people need to WANT one before they spend the money.

    There is one other issue that the tablet market has, the price of a normal laptop. If you can get a fully functional laptop running Windows 7 for $400, then why buy a tablet for $500 or more that in general won't be as functional? Reading books would go to the Kindle, or long battery life would be the big reasons, but what if you are not sure that a given product will do what you want it to do? This is where advertising, but also the need to generate HYPE for a product is needed, but prices really do seem a bit inflated in the tablet market, and that is the problem. Companies that want to compete with Apple need to be willing and able to sell products at virtually zero profit for three to five years to get enough market presence to increase prices. Sell tablets for $200, or offer financing to get the price down that people need to spend, and people will buy.

  • At $169, I'd buy one if I knew I could hack around with it. Try to install different OSes, repurpose it entirely as something else, like a coffee table screen that I can use to interface with the media pc, lights, and other things?

    Anyone know?

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