PlayBook gets Android apps in October, price-drop on the cards?

The ailing BlackBerry PlayBook is getting a big update next month, including an Android app player. But should the price be slashed?

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is bringing a big update to its PlayBook tablet, in the hope of making the ailing slate a little more interesting to buyers. But could a TouchPad-style price crash be the medicine the PlayBook needs?

Android apps on your PlayBook

Engadget reports that the PlayBook's update will arrive over-the-air in October, bringing such gems as native email (finally), calendar and contacts apps, and an Android app-player, that should let you run some Android apps on your PlayBook.

That's an appealing prospect -- the big problem with the PlayBook at the moment is that it's app offering is truly rubbish compared to that of Android tablets and the iPad. So getting Android app compatibility would make it more appealing. Though you might question whether it would be easier to just buy an Android tablet...

A BlackBerry video store is in the works too, boosting the PlayBook's media chops with 10,000 movies at launch. We just wish all those apps had been present when the PlayBook actually went on sale.

RIM's in a spot of bother -- yesterday it released its earnings report, saying it made 15 percent less cash than the previous quarter, and only shipped 200,000 PlayBooks, which is not very many. That figure only describes how many RIM has shipped out to retailers too, so the number of PlayBooks people have actually bought could be even less.

So RIM is likely sitting on a massive stack of PlayBook devices that aren't selling. How could it shift them? The Wall Street Journal reckons a TouchPad-style price-drop could be in order.

When HP abandoned its TouchPad tablet, it sold off the remaining units at just £90 a pop, and sales went through the roof. Radically dropping the price of the PlayBook might look like an admission of failure on RIM's part, but it could also get PlayBooks into the hands of actual buyers, who might then be more inclined to buy a follow-up tablet.

Would you buy a BlackBerry PlayBook if it was cheaper? And are you keen on the upcoming update, or is it too little too late? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.