Print 21 comment(s) - last by Pirks.. on Jun 8 at 3:08 PM

The BlackBerry PlayBook  (Source: RIM)
RIM spares two less popular models -- the 32 and 64 GB PlayBooks inexplicably

Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) product has been beloved by a small set of fans, but has generally been considered a market dud.  A prelude to RIM's troubles in the smartphone market, the tablet was an expensive sales flop for RIM, despite repeated price cuts and an impressive operating system overhaul.

RIM originally offered 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB models at identical prices to market leader Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPad.  But customers seemed uninterested in a $500 USD entry price for a 7-inch tablet -- especially that 7-inch tablet.  The tablet earned mixed reviews from most major news publications, with many arguing that its downsides made in remarkably inferior to the iPad and Android tablets.

Now RIM has officially axed the 16 GB SKU, writing to Engadget:

RIM will no longer be making the 16 GB model of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The 16 GB PlayBook will continue to be available for distributors and retailers while quantities last. We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world.

There is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32 GB, 64 GB), and as such we have decided to focus our efforts here.

The 32 GB model now sells for $278.59 on, Inc.'s (AMZN) page, a 53 percent mark-down of the original asking price of $599.  The 64 GB model's price was slashed 57 percent from $699 to $299.98.
The 64 GB model ranked 39th in Amazon's tablets category, the 32 GB model ranked 46th, and the soon-to-be defunct 16 GB SKU ranked #9.  It's unclear why RIM would kill its most popular PlayBook SKU, rather than simply nailing the coffin shut on the device altogether.  
As it continues to wander aimlessly about the market, its tablet future appears murky at best.  Even if the company survives, it may be forced to simply abandon this high margin market for now.

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32GB of memory
By The Raven on 6/7/2012 5:27:06 PM , Rating: 4
What is going on with these companies? Apple included. I mean I just bought a 32 GB microSD card for 20 bucks. How is it possible that they can charge this much for a 32GB extra. People are stupid I know but they are just throwing their money away. I smell another bubble. Apple of course doesn't offer expansion on anything so you have little choice if you want an iPad. But that is a surprise to no one.

16->32=16gb for $100
32->64=32gb for $100

16->32=16gb for $50
32->64=32gb for $50

Again I paid $20 for the cards I got. Nice Sandisk crap too. I'd say $25 is a more regular price. They get better deals than me so what gives? And more importantly what gives with morons who pay Apple the prices I cite for so little. I mean even if I wanted an iPad with 64gb I would never buy one at that price just because of the lack of value.

RE: 32GB of memory
By retrospooty on 6/7/2012 5:41:10 PM , Rating: 3
The same reason floormats are an extra $500 when you buy a car. the options are designed to make profit.

RE: 32GB of memory
By kmmatney on 6/7/2012 5:57:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that's part of it, but I'm also sure they use higher quality memory in the tablets. Still doesn't justify the price difference.

RE: 32GB of memory
By Souka on 6/7/2012 7:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
What's a playbook? (just kidding)

I bet 99% of non-IT people surveyed on the street would have no idea.


RE: 32GB of memory
By sprockkets on 6/7/2012 10:12:01 PM , Rating: 2
Ask pirks. It's something to do with "crapdroids", since he can't mention RIM without it.

RE: 32GB of memory
By retrospooty on 6/8/2012 11:03:12 AM , Rating: 2
It makes him feel better to use that word. It helps ease his small mind about the products he buys to insult others. This is clearly a mechanism to mentally overcome other "shortcomings" if you know what I mean.

RE: 32GB of memory
By Pirks on 6/8/2012 3:04:58 PM , Rating: 2
Your dumb trolling can't make Playbook worse, it's still the best 7" tablet out there, so keep trollin son :)))

RE: 32GB of memory
By The Raven on 6/7/2012 5:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
Some Apple drone rated me down for making Apple look bad by pointing out the truth. Hey I was making RIM look bad as well and my comment was aimed toward all manufs.

Well to make the Apple crowd feel better, let me just say that the original prices BBPB storage gaps were the same as Apple's. $100/step. So as I was saying, shame on Apple & RIM and anyone who perpetuates such stupidity by buying at such prices.

RE: 32GB of memory
By The Raven on 6/7/2012 6:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for pointing out an example that is just as stupid.
I will attack anyone. Movie theatres, where you at? Inkjet manufacturers, step into the octagon.

When I go to watch movie, I want to pay $20 to watch the movie and $10 to eat the popcorn. (If that is what they cost the theatre.) I don't want to be charged $10 for the movie and $20 for the popcorn. Don't d!ck with me and drop the 99 cent crap. I am not a moron, don't treat me like one. I will take my bitter azz home and watch movies on my iPad/Playbook if I have to. And then again there is always piracy.

RE: 32GB of memory
By retrospooty on 6/7/2012 7:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Cornextortion.

It is what it is though, the only solution is to date a woman with a big purse... Or just eat gummy bears. ;)

RE: 32GB of memory
By ritualm on 6/7/2012 7:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Many microSD cards, especially the ones with higher Class numbers i.e. Class 10, are designed for sequential read/write. It's great for cameras because they deal with high file sizes most of the time and it's mostly sequential. Put them inside a smartphone/tablet and it's going to choke as a system drive due to very weak random performance.

Internal NAND is always going to be faster, more reliable and more responsive than the absolute best microSD can offer.

RE: 32GB of memory
By The Raven on 6/8/2012 1:04:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I know, but for the guy who buys a 64gb iPad or Playbook, he just needs more class 2 room to store crap on. For the same reason that you have a hard drive in a desktop. But since neither of these manufs include a microSD port, we have no choice but to pay out the wazoo or not buy at all. And I'm not buying.

By Nortel on 6/7/2012 4:30:31 PM , Rating: 5
Setting: RIM board meeting
Topic: Struggling product line

Opens with director covering topic of slipping sales figures and segues into the Playbook line.

exec 1. -"Our Playbook has been a financial flop with the most popular model being our 16gb model"

exec 2. -"We need to get more people interested in the upcoming BB10 phone, how are we supposed to do that when we are selling so many 16gb models"

exec 3. -"I agree, we should axe our most popular Playbook model, that will definitively show our consumers how serious we are about the BB10"

exec 1. -"Wait, I think we're on the wrong track here, I mean the 16gb model is what our consumers are buying, why discontinue it?"

exec2. -"You just don't get it, we need more attention on the BB10; tablet market is over-saturated"

exec 3. -"That's it, decision made, we're cutting the 16gb Playbook. Next topic, increasing our golden parachute clauses"

RE: setting
By The Raven on 6/7/2012 4:51:05 PM , Rating: 3
lol, good one.

But am I missing something here? They axed the smaller capacity but not the smaller price right? Isn't this saying that the 32gb model is the same price if not lower than the 16? The 16 gb is obviously more popular because of the lower price, right?

Sensationalism gets the pageviews!
By Taft12 on 6/7/2012 4:56:56 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about a sensationalist article. This is a pretty underhanded spin Jason (have you considered politics?).

RIM's "most popular" SKU is the cheapest. I'm sure this is true for every phone and tablet and MP3 player for every manufacturer, including Apple.

They're just phasing out their lowest-margin SKU. Based on how much the prices were cut from the original MSRPs, there probably wasn't much profit in the 16GB model in the first place. It's still priced pretty well compared to the competition. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

RE: Sensationalism gets the pageviews!
By JasonMick on 6/7/2012 5:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about a sensationalist article. This is a pretty underhanded spin Jason (have you considered politics?).
What?? The sales figures are pretty straightforward. 9th vs. 39th is a pretty massive gap. You even admit (seemingly) that the cut SKU is by far the most popular.

Yet you don't think that's important?

Also what evidence do you have that the margin is substantially different on the devices? Do you have RIM's itemized BOM? The prices spectrum is not very broad... if there is a margin difference it is likely quite small.

And even if you were correct, the popularity factor is still important, as RIM could easily have simply forced retailers to bump the price of its 16 GB SKU to raise the margin.
It's still priced pretty well compared to the competition.
Sure, the price has approached the value -- a $200 tablet.
If you don't like it, don't buy it.
I'm not buying any tablet and I don't like or dislike the PlayBook, I'm just noting statistics, reviews, and general buyer sentiments which have been negative w.r.t. the device.

By Taft12 on 6/8/2012 11:41:01 AM , Rating: 2
First off, thanks for replying Jason!

The sales figures are pretty straightforward. 9th vs. 39th is a pretty massive gap. You even admit (seemingly) that the cut SKU is by far the most popular. Yet you don't think that's important?

Maybe it's not a massive gap. The tablet market for anything without an apple on the back is pretty small and subject to high variability as a result. The difference from 9th to 39th might only be a few thousand (few hundred?) units. And this is just one retailer. These rankings aren't very scientific and they change every day.

Also what evidence do you have that the margin is substantially different on the devices?

This one's easy. When you're buying petabytes of NAND at a time, do you think RIM's incremental cost to produce a 16GB vs 32GB is anywhere near the $50 retail price difference? You and I can buy a 16GB USB memory stick for $10-12 including all retail markup! RIM and Amazon are *VERY* happy when a customer buys a 32GB model over a 16GB model.

RIM could easily have simply forced retailers to bump the price of its 16 GB SKU to raise the margin.

I think you overestimate the clout RIM has with retailers compared to Apple. RIM is effectively doing what you say anyway. They're bumping the price of the cheapest Playbook from $200 to $250 (and the cost to produce the device is nearly unchanged).

By kmmatney on 6/7/2012 5:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is that they are phasing out all of them, but will still claim to support the higher capacities so they can at least sell them off.

You really have to wonder...
By retrospooty on 6/7/2012 4:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
WTF is going on at RIM. It's like watching clowns pour out of a small car. Just when you think there couldnt possibly be one more bad move, there is another, and another and another.

Dawana wana wana wana put put.

RE: You really have to wonder...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/7/2012 4:50:25 PM , Rating: 1
No no, the Pirks Plan (tm) is working as intended!

RE: You really have to wonder...
By Pirks on 6/8/2012 3:08:47 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, my plan to entertain myself reading your idiotic posts works 100%, keep posting BS like that son :)))

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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