A few days after announcing a considerable price reduction for their PlayBook tablet, RIM is insisting that the rumors of the device’s death are “pure fiction”.
A spokesperson for RIM, Marisa Conway, insists that RIM remains deeply committed to the mobile market and as such, intends to continue on with the PlayBook. But at what cost?
RIM has only shipped 700,000 of the units since the release in April and many of them remain unsold. This compares to over 10 million iPads having been sold in this fiscal year alone.
With the release of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, another 7″ format device, the competition in this category has stiffened. Combined with the news that Quanta Computer has laid off many of the factory workers that were producing PlayBook devices, it seems rather unlikely that days are looking sunnier.
This fate is not coming as a big surprise to many analysts, most of whom have felt from the beginning that this device was rushed to market and lacked widespread consumer appeal. Poor reviews regarding user experience and cumbersome pairing with BlackBerry smartphones has led many to avoid the device entirely.
Add to this the poor fiscal showing that RIM has had in the last few quarters that has left many consumers wondering about the future of the company as a whole. That kind of thinking can never be good at the retail level as people become more and more hesitant to make purchases and adopt technology employed by what is perceived as a sinking ship.
With the results of the PlayBook fire sale still unknown, it is difficult to say whether enough units have passed into consumer hands to make any appreciable difference. Because the market for these tablets is fairly limited to those who use the BlackBerry smartphones, and with activations and sales of those devices also rapidly declining, it may not be enough in the long term regardless of the total.