The Research In Motion (RIM) story is a bit of a sad one. RIM once owned the business smartphone market with the BlackBerry. Now, the BlackBerry seems behind the times and RIM’s sales are slowly slumping. It seems as though RIM just can’t keep up with innovative companies such as Apple and Amazon. Now with Amazon’s latest tablet offering (the Kindle Fire) RIM is left in even more of a lurch.
The RIM Playbook was meant to be the Canadian company’s lifeline – a way back into consumer hearts. Unfortunately, the Playbook did not meet RIM’s expectations. While some Playbooks sold, consumers seemed largely turned off by the Playbook’s high price. After Kindle’s Fire announcement Best Buy joined the large list of electronics stores slashing Playbook prices.
Playbook Prices Dropping
A number of electronics stores have begun slashing Playbook prices. The latest store to follow suit is Best Buy. The electronic giant has reduced Playbook prices by hundreds of dollars. Presently, the 16GB Playbook is retailing for $299; the 32GB Playbook is retailing for $399; and the 64GB Playbook is priced at $499.
These prices may still seem high when compared to Amazon’s Kind Fire (priced at $199), but it’s also important to remember that the Fire doesn’t have quite as much storage capacity as the $299 Playbook. Still, the tablet war has come down to two types of consumers. The first being those who want to pay for access to great content. The second group of consumers being those who prize devices over content.
Content VS. Device
Let’s stop for a minute and consider what Amazon has to offer. Amazon is a content king. The company has quick and immediate access to movies, games, software, music, and books. Add all of this content to a device that performs very well, and you have a lethal combination -- that combination is now called the Kindle Fire, and it’s about to take the tablet world by storm. Now, let’s consider what the Playbook has to offer.
The Playbook isn’t a bad tablet. This tablet performs well, has lots of storage space, and comes with some great features. Playbook users have access to lots of content too. So, why are Playbook sales so low? It all comes down to price.
Clearly, RIM needs to lower prices in order to sell more Playbooks. But, even when Playbook prices are chopped in half, consumers may not be drawn in by the Playbook’s offerings. Instead, most consumers will look to the upcoming Fire – a tablet that’s priced right.
The Future of Playbook
RIM hasn’t abandoned the Playbook. The Playbook hasn’t gone the way of the HP TouchPad either. There is, it seems, still a small glimmer of hope surrounding the Playbook. Will Playbook sales rise now that prices have been cut?
If we have learned anything from HP’s price slashing, it’s that consumers only care about price. Then again, RIM, as a whole, is in hot water these days, and this may turn some consumers away. After all, who wants a discounted tablet from a company that no longer exists?