RIM denies report that it has killed the PlayBook


RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is no more says analystDetails are slim, but according to a report on BGR, Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh has reason to believe that Research In Motion is no longer making any new BlackBerry PlayBooks and intends to exit the tablet market completely.

Here’s the quote from Vinh:

While Quanta last week acknowledged that it had laid off a significant number of production workers from a factory focused on producing the PlayBook, our research indicates that the ODM has essentially halted production of the tablet. Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIMM has canceled development of additional tablet projects.

We’re a little shocked to hear this, especially given our recent post asking why the PlayBook isn’t selling better than it is, but times being what they are we can’t say we’re totally surprised. After watching HP fold their TouchPad tablet after only a few weeks of worse-than-expected sales, it may simply be that RIM has lost its appetite for a market segment that has failed to yield the results it was hoping for.

Could RIM actually be planning to halt the PlayBook? Yes.
In recent days we’ve seen retailers slash prices on the gadget and layer on additional incentives for buying one – once again raising the specter of the TouchPad which went through its own series of price cuts before ultimately being given the fire-sale treatment. These price drops will not sit well with RIM. The company is used to selling its devices for healthy profits and then making additional dollars on the enterprise software side to manage those devices. The PlayBook never really capitalized on this ecosystem the way the BlackBerry handsets do.

But this should all be taken with a grain of salt. After all, only yesterday RIM announced how it was planning to support the promised compatibility with Android apps on the PlayBook. And while that announcement disappointed many developers given the features RIM had decided not to support, it was nonetheless a signal that things were still moving ahead as far as the PlayBook platform was concerned.

Update:
RIM has responded to Vinh’s report with the following email:

RIM doesn’t typically comment on rumors, but any suggestion that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued is pure fiction. RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market.

[Source: BGR]

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11 comments

  1. Market Viewer

    Could the price drop/promotions for the PlayBook indicate a market correction based on the introduction of the Amazon Fire 7″ tablet at $200 that will cause a major headache for all tablet producers? Perhaps Apple can maintain their high price for the iPad device, but pre-Christmas or U.S. Thanksgiving sales could lead to a battle royal for sales in the tablet market. Rim may be moving toward a sensible competitive price in order to stay competitive with a 7″ tablet. This may be a case where the tortoise (Rim) will stay in the race over the longer term, instead of the instant-gratification model various hares are chasing after.

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    • Watch Tower

      Any price from $99 – $199 is a competitive price today for tablets. Looks like HP made the move first even if it was for a different purpose. RIM may have to lower prices further for volume sale. That people buy Ipad 2 at anywhere above $200 shows total recklessness. Other than it’s good looks and smooth performance, the Ipad 2 features do not even come anywhere closer to a reasonably good netbook that sells between $200-300. Apple will be forced to bring down the price of the Ipad series and it is peoples’ purchasing power that will govern these prices in the future.

      What is perhaps required or may be the future will be a “nettab” – a powerful combination of a netbook and tablet that may be the ultimate answer. What makers need to focus is the smoothness of functionality as in an Ipad. I believe Microsoft has an advantage in this department at this stage.

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  2. DCN

    From day 1 RIM has had a problem with Touch Screen Technology, resulting in the failure of 2 most recent devices. Their CEO plans to quit, 2000 jobs being cut and a mass shipment of BB smartphone delivered to every school teacher in Jamaica (JA Gleaner)? The red flags are up, time for me to bow and make that move, can’t wait for Iphone 5, don’t care for it but wnen you are on top with an almost fail-proof device, what can i say.

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  3. Pierre

    Simon,

    With HP dead in the water and RIM not far behind it looks like, what are the best performing & affordable tablets on the Canadian market?

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    • Simon Cohen

      Well it won’t surprise you to find out I still think the iPad is the best of the bunch. There’s so much to like about that device and so few real drawbacks (a lack of Flash support and the price are about the only ones I can think of). That said, there are several good alternatives. If you generally like the iPad but would prefer to use Android, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a great device. Prices are almost the same as the iPad.

      If you think that $519+tax is too much, the Toshiba tablet is a bargain starting at $399 for the 8GB model. It has features that few if any tablets can match including: removable battery, full-size SD card reader, USB port for thumb drives and external devices, HDMI port for full 1080p video out with no other adapters needed. It’s bulkier than the others, but it’s a great device.

      Finally, I know this sounds crazy, but for $299, the PlayBook 16GB is a very good deal – with one proviso: You have to be a BlackBerry user to get the most out of this tablet. With the tethered email, calendar etc. the PlayBook is a very capable tablet that has the edge over many of the others purely based on its size: 7″ has very few options at the moment. I can’t say for sure how long RIM will be committed to it, but I do know that they are betting the farm on QNX which is the PlayBook OS, so even if they kill the form factor, the OS will continue to be developed which is arguably the most important thing.

      Hope this helps!

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  4. Rip van Wink

    If RIM bails on the Playbook before they untether it and upgrade it to 4G capable, I’m gonna picket the building. That’s all I and 10 million other people are waiting for, and I for one am willing to wait. I’m also waiting for their first QNX smartphone. And I’m sick to death of reading obituaries in the press for a company that has a hell of a lot more going for it than Apple did in 2003 when all the “experts” were digging its grave. For starters, RIM is MAKING MONEY, FOLKS.

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  5. tony F

    you figure RIM would buy the good bits from HP to build a better tablet.
    ..

    or partner with Samsung, or ACER, or whomever is currently making a decent tablet.

    It would be a hell of a lot cheaper to make and a lot easier to dump if they find it wasn’t worth it.

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    • Sam Patwegar

      Not Samsung, ACER or anyone else, It is only RIM which can rescue the playbook.

      The playbook had managed to create a good buzz – It is the software glitches which turned the good buzz into bad publicity and killed the playbook.

      I agree it will not be easy for the playbook to make a comeback, especially if Kindle Fire takes off in a big way.

      However, RIM needs to fight back for millions of Canadian’s who have believed in the company and invested their hard earned money into RIM’s stock.

      (Disclaimer: I do not own RIM’s stock)

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