Best Buy has slashed pricing of the BlackBerry PlayBook, with the entry-level model down to under two hundred dollars as retailers attempt to provoke interest in RIM’s little-loved slate. The 16GB PlayBook is now just $199.99, with the 32GB and 64GB models at $299.99 and, bizarrely, $229.99 respectively.
It’s not the first discounted PlayBook pricing we’ve seen, though it is some of the most significant. Earlier this week, Canadian retailers were tipped to be readying considerable discounts ahead of the holidays, and the 7-inch QNX tablet has been the subject of several temporary and promotional cuts almost immediately after it launched.
Best Buy’s $300 discount seems to be working, too; the 16GB PlayBook is listed as backordered at time of writing, with the first deliveries of new orders expected to be in 1-2 weeks. We’d probably stump up the extra $30 and opt for the 64GB one at a bargain $230, also backordered, and which is listed as $470 off RIM’s RRP.
The PlayBook will be the recipient of a significant firmware update in February 2012, bringing a native email client, PIM access and – perhaps most significantly – support for certain Android applications. That should position the tablet as more of a standalone device, whereas currently key features like email require tethering to a BlackBerry smartphone or use of a webmail interface in the PlayBook’s browser.