We're seriously starting to question the intelligence level of tablet makers, or at least their ability to predict consumer reactions to price cuts. Exhibit A is Hewlett-Packard's $99 TouchPad fire sale. HP's goal was to clear out existing inventory, and it did, but not before owning the world's most popular tablet, and arguably the hottest tech item around. What did Research In Motion learn from this?
Absolutely nothing. According to several online reports, RIM just dropped the price of all PlayBook models to $299 and someone didn't anticipate an influx of hits to its website. At the time of this writing (around 9:45 AM EST), attempts to visit RIM's BlackBerry Store are met with a nasty looking Server Error. The exact same thing happened to HP when the TouchPad went on sale.
RIM will eventually get things sorted out, perhaps sooner than later, and when it does, you'll be able to surf on over and pick up a 64GB model for $299, a significant discount over its original MSRP of $699. Of course, you could also choose a 32GB or 16GB, both of which are also priced at $299, but unless there's a massive shipping delay for the 64GB model (very possible, depending on how many tablet shoppers bite), you might as well swing for the extra storage.
And therein lies the other reason why we question what synaptic activity is going on inside the heads of tablet makers. By reducing all three models to $299, RIM just priced its two lower end models out of the market. Why not drop the price of the 32GB and 16GB models to $250 and $200, respectively, or $275 and $250? Maybe RIM would lose money on those sales, but at $299, nobody's going to buy them anyway.
In any event, if an affordable PlayBook with lots of storage is what you're after, start mashing the refresh button.
EDIT: Just as we were going live with this post, the BlackBerry Store sprang back to life. According to the PlayBook product page, these sale prices end on February 2, 2014.