PlayBook dropping to $199 in Staples Black Friday deal?

A leaked ad shows that Research In Motion is looking to get even more aggressive with the lowest retail price for the tablet yet.

Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis showing off the PlayBook at a conference last year. James Martin/CNET

The discounts keep coming for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

The latest comes from a leaked Staples ad found by TechCrunch. The office-supply retailer appears to be offering the 16GB PlayBook for $199 as part of its Black Friday special. A full listing of Staples' Black Friday specials can be found here.

This marks the steepest price cut yet for the PlayBook, which stumbled out of the gate and hasn't sold particularly well despite a spate of recent discounts. RIM has seeded the developer community with thousands of PlayBook tablets and is pushing heavy promotions to move its inventory. More importantly, it wants more consumers using its next-generation operating system, which will eventually power its high-end smartphones.

Previously, Staples and Best Buy offered the PlayBook for $299 through a combination of rebates and in-store credits. RIM itself was offering business customers a promotion through which they would get one free PlayBook after purchasing two .

At $199, the PlayBook will be competitive with the Kindle Fire this holiday season, although $199 is Amazon's regular price for its tablet.

The PlayBook failed to make a dent in the market because it lacked key BlackBerry features such as e-mail, calendar, and a messenger service. The company hoped to address that issue, as well as bring in ported Android apps with version 2.0 of its software, but had to delay it until February .

PlayBook uses QNX, a slicker next-generation platform better able to compete with Android and iOS. Last month, the company said it would rename the platform BBX and incorporate some of the original BlackBerry operating system into the new combined software.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. PT: to include Staples' listing for its Black Friday deals.

 

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