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Best Buy cancels BlackBerry PlayBook orders, pulls listings

updated 02:15 am EST, Sun November 27, 2011

Best Buy sheds PlayBook as others follow

Best Buy raised questions on Thanksgiving weekend after it suddenly started cancelling Blackberry PlayBook orders. Shoppers have frequently reported orders being dropped, even if the order had already been charged and was virtually ready. Those on Best Buy's forums have mentioned the retailer being "overextended," while our own checks had one store say that "all" orders had been cancelled.

While we weren't supplied with a reason in our check, those on the forums report the chain being "overextended." However, it's not clear why the sales would have been dropped given that this was part of a longer RIM promotion lasting through at least the start of December, not a Black Friday or Thanksgiving weekend promo.

While it's potentially to discourage rain checks, the cancelled orders come just as Best Buy also appears to have pulled listings for the PlayBook itself, leaving only accessories. It also comes as stores like Staples and Office Max are showing unusually limited selections where one or two models are missing. How long they've been in this state isn't known.

The most probable explanation is a short term sales rush that has cleared out stock, repeating the same flood of customers that triggered HP TouchPad sellouts. Best Buy normally leaves products online if they're only temporarily sold out, however, raising questions of whether the chain plans to keep the PlayBook. Although the PlayBook is likely to stay, the withdrawals recall the situation that led to the death of webOS mobile devices, where Best Buy was stuck with unsold stock and threatened to make HP pay for TouchPads it couldn't sell.

RIM has had a difficult time persuading some to adopt the BlackBerry PlayBook regardless of discounts. It already slashed the price temporarily to $300, and it has been giving free units as bonuses under certain conditions. Most often, the hesitation has been pinned on the lack of native e-mail and other basics, which make it hard to pick over either a higher-end but complete tablet like the iPad or else the simpler, PlayBook-based Amazon Kindle Fire.

By Electronista Staff


  1. makemineamac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Still listed on the Canadian site.

    Though they have their own sku base, it's still there for sale. They really may have pulled it. But without confirmation of that, not sure if the title of the story is accurate.

  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    iPad +2, Competition 0

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    It makes sense to cancel orders

    on products that can't be sold. With the well-known claims that the Kindle Fire is merely a less-featured version of the PlayBook and sells for a lot less money. Not much reason left for anyone to buy a PlayBook or for Best Buy to even keep it in stock.

  1. DoctorGonzo

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    comment title

    Maybe they'd have better luck selling it if it actually shipped with working email.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008



    We'll soon see a buy one get eight free from RIM to move units fast. Then a press release about the huge sudden burst of PlayedBook units sold within a month.

  1. serkol

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Sold out

    I don't get these comments. The article reads that playbooks were sold out, but the comments are about playbooks not selling? I bought 2 playbooks in Canada, for $200, before they were sold out in an hour. The OS is not as smooth as iOS, but it is usable. The web browser is good, it includes a ereader with a book store, there are apps for reading any ebook file format, there are some games and educational apps for kids, the screen is very good, it has GPS. I find it a steal for $200.

  1. SergioRS

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2004


    Blame RIM?

    Maybe RIM pulled all stock back so it could be re-distributed to DollarTree. (kidding aside, I almost bit for $200 - but it doesn't seem like their online app store is getting any really good quality tablet optimized apps. Ongoing issues with the GPS (from what I can glean online) are not particularly comforting either...)

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