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BlackBerry PlayBook dropping to $199 in time for holidays

RIM confirms that Best Buy, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, others will offer deeply discounted tablets.

The Playbook's price has dropped $300 since its launch earlier this year. RIM

It's official--the price of BlackBerry's PlayBook tablet will soon be dropping into the Kindle Fire range at a number of big-time retailers... for a limited time.

When it launched earlier this year, the slate from Research In Motion started at $499. A few months ago, the price dropped as low as $299through a combination of credits and rebates from retailers like Best Buy.

Today, RIM announced via Twitter that the rumored $199 price drop is for real "for a limited time only."

The PlayBook Web site lists Best Buy, Wireless Giant, Staples, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Radio Shack and Wal-Mart as participating retailers. RIM has offered no confirmation of when the price cut will go into effect, but current prices have remained in place on the retailers' sites this morning, and previous reports suggest that the $199 price may be a Black Friday deal.

Online reseller offered a batch of PlayBooks for $199 over the weekend, and they quickly sold out.

The PlayBook has struggled since its launch, due in large part to the fact that it isn't integrated with BlackBerry's popular e-mail and messaging services. RIM has also faced myriad problems this year, including the continually delayed release of its new QNX-based OS and worldwide service outages.

While pretty much all non-iPad tablets have failed to gain any traction with consumers, all bets seem to be off when any brand name slate falls below a certain price threshold, as demonstrated by the frenzy for $99 HP TouchPads (now discontinued) and the millions of $199 Kindle Fires Amazon is expected to sell.