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BlackBerry PlayBook tablet gets $150 price cut

The price of the high-end 64GB BlackBerry PlayBook has been cut by $150 at Best Buy. Though nothing like the fire sale on the HP TouchPad, it may be a precursor of more price cuts to come.

The BlackBerry PlayBook got a hefty discount at one major reseller though it hardly compares to the fire-sale pricing seen recently for Hewlett-Packard's TouchPad.

As of Thursday, Best Buy is offering the 64GB PlayBook tablet for $550--$150 off the regular price.
As of today, Best Buy is offering the 64GB PlayBook tablet for $550--$150 off the regular price. Best Buy

Best Buy today started offering the 64GB PlayBook at $550, $150 off the original price of the $700.

That hardly compares to the $100 offer for the 16GB HP TouchPad. Nevertheless, the PlayBook is not a defunct platform like the TouchPad and $550 is a low price for a 64GB tablet. 64GB models from Apple, for example, are more than $800.

Features include BlackBerry's Tablet Operating System based on QNX, Wi-Fi connectivity, 7-inch HD capacitive screen with multi-touch, 1024 x 600 resolution, 1GB of system memory, 1GHz dual-core processor, forward and rear cameras, and Micro USB and Micro HDMI ports.

Best Buy is also offering the 16GB PlayBook for $449, $50 off the regular price of $499.

But stiff 7-inch tablet competition is on the way. The Lenovo 7-inch IdeaPad A1 with Android 2.3 will be offered at $200 and $250 for 8GB and 16GB models respectively. (Currently, the release date for the A1 is unclear.) And existing 7-inch competition includes the original Samsung Galaxy Tab, a model released last year, which is priced at $279 at Best Buy.

Overall, the PlayBook is competing in an increasingly crowded tablet market. Apple's iPad dominates the tablet space, making it very difficult for any rival to gain a big toehold. And then there's the non-Apple market with tablets from Motorola, Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, and others--all based on Google's Android operating system. Not to mention the WebOS-based TouchPad, which is due for a final production run in the coming weeks at $100 and $150 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively.

During its most recent earnings announcement, RIM said it had shipped 500,000 PlayBooks. At that time, the mobile device maker also announced it had missed revenue targets by hundreds of millions of dollars and that it would start layoffs during the second quarter.

RIM's co-CEO Jim Balsillie said at that time that the "PlayBook launch did not go as smoothly as planned."

And Sprint said earlier this month that it was canceling the 4G PlayBook, though the carrier will continue to offer a Wi-Fi version of the 7-inch tablet.

CNET Reviews said the PlayBook is "a welcome addition to a tablet landscape that has been devoid of professionally-oriented products (outside of Windows 7 slates). And it's an important competitive gesture to both Apple and Google that a third way is possible and that there are still interesting and innovative things to be done in this space."

CNET has contacted RIM with a request for comment.

Via Electronista

Updated at 2:35 p.m. PDT: with discussion of 7-inch Lenovo IdeaPad A1 and Samsung Galaxy Tab.