Last summer, when HP discontinued the WebOS-powered TouchPad and, buyers went ape. Apparently a 10-inch tablet for $99 was too good to pass up--never mind the fact that app development was about to grind to a halt.
RIM's 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook is likely to suffer a similar fate, which begs the question: is it worth owning if you can get it for cheap?
Your inevitable next question: how cheap? RIM's newly slashed PlayBook prices are as follows: $199 for the 16GB model, $249 for the 32GB model, and $299 for the 64GB model.
This last hasn't changed since last month, when RIM made the curious move of. (Um, yeah, think I'll take the one with less storage. Right.)
Let's focus on the $199 version. That's a good price for a 7-inch tablet. It has twice the storage of Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire and comes with advanced features like an HDMI output and a powerful Flash-enhanced browser.
On the other hand, there's no way to expand the available storage, as you can with, say, the $199 Lenovo IdeaPad A1.
And the PlayBook lacks GPS, another feature that gives the IdeaPad a leg up. Update: My bad! The PlayBook does indeed have GPS. Anyone know if it works offline (i.e. without Wi-Fi assistance)?
And let's not forget: the latter runs Android. RIM's OS is, by most accounts, fast, fluid, and pleasant, but its future is uncertain. In short order you could find yourself with a tablet that app developers have more or less abandoned.
Of course, maybe that doesn't matter. Even without new apps, it'll still be good for e-mail, e-books, Web browsing, Facebook, and Angry Birds. Maybe that's enough for some users. You tell me.
Indeed, let me know what you think of this deal. Is $199 the right price for a 16GB PlayBook? If not, what is? And how about the other two models? It's pretty rare to see a 64GB tablet for $299.
That said, I still think the IdeaPad is the $199 tablet deal to beat.
Bonus deal: It's extremely rare to see any kind of significant deal on a non-refurbished iPod Touch, but here you go: Amazon has the fourth-generation iPod Touch (8GB) for $179.99 shipped. That's $20 less than what Apple charges. You can also get the 32GB model for $272.95. These are the Touches with the built-in cameras and Retina screens--that is, the latest ones.