updated 07:05 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011
RIM turns corner with cheaper BlackBerry PlayBook
RIM while talking about its latest results added that it had finally reached a level of balance on BlackBerry PlayBook shipments and might trim costs for the whole company. In a rare instance of revealing some of its sell-through to actual customers, the firm said it had sold more than the 150,000 PlayBooks it shipped out in the quarter. For the first time in months, the company needed to replenish the channel after clearing out existing supply.
There had been a "significant increase" in PlayBook sales since the price drop to $199. RIM expected the promotions to keep going and hinted they might last considerably longer. A rejuvenation was hoped for with the PlayBook 2.0 update in February, and the expansion of the user base as well as native PlayBook code was leading to more developer support, such as over 100 native games just recently added in the mix.
The company wished the launch could have been "smoother" for the PlayBook, but it was still committed to tablets as part of its strategy.
To help trim costs regardless of how well the tablet would fare, RIM also hinted that it might cull its model line. A new initiative at the company, nicknamed Core, was gauging how many BlackBerry phones it needed to have. The strategy would help find efficiency in production but wasn't looking to cut jobs. It might save "hundreds of millions" of dollars, RIM said.
With the first BlackBerry 10 phone not due to arrive until late 2012, concerns existed that the existing phones might not be enough to save RIM. The company was confident that promo deals and marketing would help keep sales up, but co-chief Mike Lazaridis added that BlackBerry Bold 9900 sales were doing "very, very well," and he heard "every day" that the Bold was the best communicator of its kind.
Although taking action, RIM now faces an uncertain period of several months where it will have to rely on its holdover BlackBerry 7 range and the current Playbook. Neither the first BB10 phone nor a Playbook sequel are expected until later into 2012, and the existing range will have to go up against hardware that's already faster and more feature-laden.