RIM, the makers of BlackBerry brand of mobile devices has announced that they would no longer be making the low end, 16 GB version of its tablet – the BlackBerry Playbook any more. They added that once the current stock of this version runs out, they won’t be available any more.
In an official statement released by the company, it says:
“RIM will no longer be making the 16GB model of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The 16GB PlayBook will continue to be available for distributors and retailers while quantities last. We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32GB and 64GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world. There is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32GB, 64GB), and as such we have decided to focus our efforts here.”
RIM’s Playbook tablet was launched as a response to Apple’s iPad. However, unlike Apple’s product, the Playbook never came to even come close to the kind of numbers the iPad achieved with its sales figures. While we still do not have a number as to how many Playbooks have been sold so far, the number is expected to be around 2 million. This is way below the iPad which sold in tens and millions of numbers ever since its launch back in 2010 – and with its subsequent updates in 2011 and 2012.
The Playbook has been on sale since April 2011 and its users also face problems of inconsistent updates an doubts regarding future updates. It currently runs Playbook OS 2.0 which was pushed as an update a few months ago.
While the Playbook itself has not been a successful product, RIM’s future could be dependent on this product. The current version of the Playbook 2.0 OS it runs has features that would eventually arrive on its upcoming OS, the BlackBerry 10 OS which will power future RIM devices.
It remains to be seen if pulling the plug on the 16 GB Playbook will have an immediate effect on RIM’s current fortunes. In the long run though, this might turn out to be a turning point in the company’s history.