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HP didn’t do much with the Touchpad, but they did at least prove that there is a healthy market out there for a $99 tablet. RIM isn’t quite ready to go that crazy with its struggling Playbook just yet, but they have started to test the waters. Last week RIM dropped the price of each model of playbook by an even $100 in Canada, and also began offering an additional $100 gift card at two of the country’s biggest brick & mortar retailers, Future Shop and Best Buy. How has it been working out so far? Both retailers are reporting they are officially sold out.
This quick online stock check method isn’t intended to declare RIM’s playbook a winner at $299, but it does make you wonder just how big the market for a less expensive iPad really is. For under $300 the flash enabled Playbook would make for a great web surfing couch tablet, but it certainly isn’t without its flaws. Basic features such as email and calendar have yet to materialize, though according to reports this should finally be rectified by the end of September.
Even if $299 turns out to be the magic number for iPad competitors such as the Playbook, we still don’t know if companies can make enough money at this price point to justify the engineering investment. This is especially true for Research in Motion who has to continue innovating on not just hardware front, but software development as well.
Would you pick up a Playbook at $200 less than the equivalently spec’d iPad? Or are you waiting to see if RIM will pull an HP and take the fire sale route.