BlackBerry tablets in fire sale as retailers slash prices

BlackBerry PlayBook: tablet device is being sold at knock-down prices
BlackBerry PlayBook: tablet device is being sold at knock-down prices

Retailers are slashing the price of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer range after disappointing sales.

The 16GB version of the PlayBook tablet can be bought for as little as £169 at The Carphone Warehouse, a 58% saving on its full price of £399.

Currys and PC World are selling the 64GB model for £329, some £230 cheaper than the full price of the model, and the price of Apple's rival iPad 2.

In the US, BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) has launched a firesale of the PlayBook range via its online shop.

RIM is selling all versions of the device at the same price point in a bid to shift stock, meaning both the 16GB and 64GB versions can be bought for $299 (£191).

The 64GB model was being sold for $699 before the price reduction.

The drastic price cuts come after disappointing sales of the PlayBook, which were dwarfed by Apple's market-leading iPad tablets.

Research in Motion saw shipments of its PlayBook tablets drop to 150,000 in the three months ending 26 November last year, down from 200,000 in the previous quarter.

By contrast, Apple reported it had sold 11.1 million iPad units in the three months to 24 September.

Poor sales of the PlayBook hit RIM hard as it posted a 6% drop in year-on-year revenue, from $5.5bn to $5.2bn in the quarter ending 26 November.

RIM's position in the mobile device market was dealt a further blow when it revealed the integration of the PlayBook's QNX operating system into BlackBerry smartphones would be delayed from March to late 2012 at the earliest.

Another brand to have struggled in the tablet market is HP, which reacted to disappointing demand by withdrawing its tablet from sale and clearing its stock on eBay last year.

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