RIM To Discontinue $199, 16GB PlayBook Tablet
June 8, 2012

RIM To Discontinue $199, 16GB PlayBook Tablet

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) said on Thursday that it would discontinue its low-end 16GB PlayBook tablet computer when current inventories are depleted, but will continue making 32 and 64 GB versions of the device.

“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,” the Blackberry Maker said in a statement.

“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.”

The company said it would focus on its higher capacity models (32 GB, 64 GB), which offer more value for its customers.

The 16GB PlayBook is priced at just $199, while the 32 and 64 GB versions sell for $249 and $299, respectively, and likely generate higher margins.

RIM´s PlayBook is a strategic part of the company´s product portfolio, and was the first product to use the QNX operating system that RIM will use on its future phones, such as the BlackBerry 10. RIM has been pushing software developers to build PlayBook applications that could be sold at an app store for its phones later this year, but has had only limited success.

The poorly-selling 16GB PlayBook was met with broad criticism when it launched in April 2011 for lacking basic features such as email, contacts, and a calendar. Since then, the device has failed to impress consumers despite its low price and a significant software upgrade that added those important applications.

RIM sold more than half a million PlayBooks in the three months to early March. By comparison, Apple Inc., which makes 16, 32 and 64 GB versions of the iPad tablet device, sold 11.8 million iPads in its quarter to late March.

RIM´s discontinuation of its 16GB Playbook means the company has one less device to worry about for the time being, leaving more resources to focus on the BlackBerry 10 and other new smartphones.