It seems there has been quite a string of bad news from RIM World Headquarters. It wasn't that many months ago that the company took a beating with the inventory of Playbooks that were languishing in some large warehouse(s). Instead of shipping everything off to a very large landfill they did something radical- drop the price and get them moving. There was a number of critics who laughed and pointed out how HP had done the same thing with their tablet and it was the end of the line. Of course, if anyone studied the specs of the HP Touchpad, it wasn't much for a very large amount of money. Perhaps had they started with the price point of the Amazon Kindle Fire, or the B&N Color Nook, it might have been a great little tablet. But they went for the maximum price and its DOA.
The cost cutting of RIM did something great, it brought people to the stores and got them to buy the Playbook. A number of articles pointed out that the Playbook captured 15% of the Canadian marketshare. I know I can almost hear the indifference, but I can say from evidence, there are more people walking around with the Playbook then with the iPad.
Then again, this makes sense, RIM has a built-in group of support, perhaps they are not as noisy as Apple has, but they exist. Also, the price may have opened the tablet up for the new Blackberry consumer group- young people. Look around, how many young adults and teens have Blackberry phones. Sure they use them more for the BBM then anything else, but it is a group that likes them. So the $199 is a nice price point for youth. They might understand the whole bridging thing then I can comprehend.
Then there is the OS 2.0, the improvement that will boost the ability of the Playbook, giving it the much needed features. There are another of information, it now seems the release date will be February 21st. It will also be a global launch and a free launch. It will also take place at the Mobile World Congress. No doubt it will be announced and launched at the same time. This will excite the media and those attending the Congress and get the bloggers going with the news. I expect things will explode big time for the Playbook.
The promise of a 4G Playbook is still out there, which points to the fact that instead of a dead end, the Playbook has a bright future for itself.
As an aside, people are starting to talk about a 7" iPad coming out, perhaps not with the upcoming announcement this March, but later on in the year. While Steve Jobs did not like the 7", with the growth of Kindle Fire and the revival of the Playbook, plus all those Android Tablets, its a part of the market that is growing and is successful.