Has Best Buy discontinued the sale of RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet? Various reports claim this may be the case after questions began to arise about sudden cancellations starting Thanksgiving weekend. Since Friday, consumers have swarmed Best Buy's forums to complain about the retailer canceling their orders -- even if their cards were already charged -- while employees have reportedly confirmed the store halting "all" orders.
"I am so upset that my blackberry playbook just got canceled," reads one complaint. "I had an order confirmation and they charged my card. The next day I got an email saying it was backordered. Today I got a cancellation. After spending 45 min with customer service who had to research why my order was canceled???? He said the store over extended itself and there was nothing I could do. Sucks for me. I had so many black friday options and I chose Best Buy. What a mistake."
Last Monday RIM confirmed that its 16 GB tablet would be reduced to $199 at Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Radio Shack, Staples and Walmart at participating locations. The non-Black Friday promo would last for a "limited time" and possibly run all the way to December 1, 2011. Customers believe that the retailer may have overextended itself, and thus canceled orders to discourage rain checks. Reports have even claimed that Best Buy pulled the PlayBook listings entirely, but as of this writing, they still appear on the retailer's site -- even the $199 16 GB version -- all of which are listed as "Sold Out Online."
But there's more to the story than just Best Buy. Reports have pointed to Staples and its only BlackBerry PlayBook listing, the $399 64 GB Wi-Fi version. OfficeMax is also only listing one model, the $299 32 GB version. Neither retailers are currently listing the "fire sale" $199 model, yet it still appears on RIM's online BlackBerry shop (use the coupon code "09OLTY12" to get an extra $10 off). That said, there's belief that only a certain number of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB units have been made available, and retailers have pulled listings until additional stock arrives.
In late September RIM squashed rumors that it would discontinue production of its PlayBook tablet after sluggish sales pushed one analyst to say the company would exit the market. "Rumors suggesting that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued are pure fiction," RIM spokeswoman Marisa Conway said in an emailed statement. "RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market and the future of QNX in its platform."
Just weeks ago RIM reduced the price of all three tablets to push more units off store shelves. The tablet initially arrived on the market with mixed reviews, many of which complained about its lack of basic applications like a native e-mail client and calendars. The BlackBerry tablet's first update has been delayed three times, with the latest slated projected date scheduled for February.
We received the following Best Buy statement regarding the BlackBerry PlayBook situation: