In the past few weeks we’ve highlighted deals for the BlackBerry PlayBook that would allow our readers to pick up one for as good a price as possible. Last week’s promotion, which involved a $100 rebate from RIM, was my favorite. You could then search for the best price online and then get $100 back on that. That won’t be the last deal you see from RIM on the PlayBook, though.
After announcing that they shipped just 200,000 units in the last quarter, something has to change. On their earnings call yesterday afternoon they said that they’d start offering promotions and rebates, such as the one we saw last week, to help move more units. This is nothing but good news for BlackBerry fans.
If this were a universal good RIM would have launched the PlayBook at a lower price point, so there is a certain give and take at play here. But apparently profits aren’t taking center stage at the moment. RIM knows that it’s against the wall in terms of its tablet, and that it needs to move units. Promotions and rebates are one way to help get more of them out the door.
Again, the one we investigated last week is perfect. It allows people to buy the PlayBook wherever they want, and at the cheapest price, while still getting a flat $100 back. It doesn’t get much better than that, especially if you can find your desired model at a discount from retail. Yet RIM isn’t stopping here. They’re also planning a massive update after DevCon, which will take place in about a month. That will comprise the native email, calendar, and contacts functions, plus the Android Player, better web browser, and a video store.
According to co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, the company would rather do one big update than a little here and a little there. While that will certainly stall stales for the moment, it could put a spur to them just in time for the holidays. After weeks of playing with the PlayBook, I can conclude that a few killer apps, plus the native functions, could put this tablet over the top.
There are two items that we can conclude from this. First is that, as Ionut expressed yesterday, this will upgrade the PlayBook from could-have-been to an actual, viable tablet in a saturated market. The wait will continue, which no one likes, but the payoff appears to be enormous.
The flipside of that, however, is that RIM should have had this ready from the beginning. They announced the PlayBook a year ago, and then delivered it more than six months later. Would it really have been that bad a thing if they’d held off and just released the thing around this time, as a fully functional tablet?
The time for second guessing is over, though. RIM did what they did, and now they have to hustle in order to make it right. It appears they’re on the right track, though. By offering discounts they’ll attract more potential users, and with their massive update they can start to compete for real with the other high-end tablets on the market.
It’ll take all that, plus a little elbow grease, but it does appear that the PlayBook is in line for prime time.