Has RIM killed the BlackBerry PlayBook?

Production may have halted on RIM's ailing tablet, according to an analyst, and it may have cancelled all tablet plans. Kindle Fire anyone?

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

The Amazon Kindle Fire has a lot to answer for. The budget Android tablet has dominated headlines since its announcement yesterday (despite not even being available in the UK just yet), and now it may well be able to claim the BlackBerry PlayBook as its first victim.

An analyst has told Reuters that RIM has ceased production on the PlayBook. Not only that, RIM may have shelved all tablet plans for the foreseeable future. Well if you can't stand the heat…

"We believe RIM has stopped production of its PlayBook and is actively considering exiting the tablet market," analyst John Vihn from Collins Stewart semiconductors wrote in a note. "Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIM has cancelled development of additional tablet projects."

But nothing is confirmed as yet. A RIM spokesperson told us, "BlackBerry doesn't comment on rumour or speculation."

Last month PlayBook manufacturer Quanta Computer sacked a significant number of workers at a factory producing the PlayBook. Adding to the rumours, ars technica today reported that the PlayBook has had a $200 price cut today at Best Buy, with the 16GB shipping for just $299.99. RIM announced it shipped 500,000 PlayBooks in the last six weeks of its fiscal first quarter, with another 200,000 in its second quarter. In comparison, Apple sold 15 million iPads before announcing the much-improved iPad 2.

At just $199, the Kindle Fire could well send a tablet or two the way of the HP TouchPad, which lasted just seven weeks on sale before being heavily discounted and then discontinued. The Kindle Fire already has a content ecosystem to rival Apple's, with a web browser that uses the cloud to speed things up. The lower price could tempt a lot of consumers put off by the more expensive iPad.

Would you buy a cheaper PlayBook? Or is it now all about the iPad and Kindle Fire? Let us know on our Facebook page.