Is RIM’s PlayBook the next HP TouchPad? That’s the thinking of some reading the BlackBerry maker’s news that it shipped just 200,000 of its tablets last quarter, less than half that shipped the previous financial three-month period. What’s worse: there are also PlayBooks unsold at retailers. Can anyone say price cuts are on the way?
RIM executives, talking to analysts Thursday, seem ready to slash prices. RIM’s financial head, Brian Bidulka, put it in the usual Wall Street lingo: “In addition to the inventory on RIM’s balance sheet, there is inventory in the channel that we will work through with our partners to sell through over the coming months.” Translation: price cuts are coming.
That message was echoed by RIM’s Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis. “RIM does plan promotions this fall including special incentives for companies and rebates for consumers,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The lack of interest by consumers cost RIM $754 million since the start of fiscal 2011, according to the Journal.
At least RIM isn’t quite in HP’s position, where retailers wanted the dust-gathering TouchPad off their shelves. But there are some moves the PlayBook maker can take to help move those doggies: support email and Android, two features expected in an upgrade. Secondly, drop the $499 price of a 7-inch PlayBook below that of Apple’s 10-inch iPad 2 — we’ve heard $99 did wonders for HP sales.
But possibly the easiest tactic to larger sales of Android tablets, according to surveys we’ve reported on, is to develop a device that looks and acts just like an iPad, but is cheaper. Of course, then I’d shove all profits to your legal team.