RIM’s decision to discontinue the 16GB version of its PlayBook tablet may be part of the belt-tightening measures the company is taking as it awaits the launch of its BlackBerry 10 platform and handsets.
BlackBerry maker Research
In Motion has discontinued the 16GB version of its PlayBook tablet. The device
currently sells for $200 at Best Buy and elsewhere, while a 32GB version is
priced at $250 and a 64GB version at $300.
"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," the company told Cnet
in a statement. RIM didnt respond to an eWEEK
request for additional comment.
The decision to
discontinue its least-beefy tablet could be part of RIMs efforts to slim down
in a number of regards.
RIM has a little fat on
the hips and we need to be lean, mean, CEO Thorsten Heins told the media
during a May 2 meeting at RIMs BlackBerry World 2012 show in Orlando.
Heins himself is part of
RIMs plan to trim down, as he replaced
co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in January
. Soon afterward, Heins
began the process of thinning down the rest of companys management staff and
reining in its to-do list.
We believe that
BlackBerry cannot succeed if we try to be everybodys darling and all things to
all people, Heins said during a March 29 earnings call. While focusing on what
RIM does best, it plans to better leverage relationships to address other
We will seek strong
partnerships to deliver those consumer features and content that are not
central to the BlackBerry value position, Heins said, offering the example of
applications for media consumption.
Heins went on to identify
four strategic areas where RIM will focus its efforts. One of these was on
improving efficienciesand toward this end its rumored that RIM plans to let
go of several
thousand more employees
. Another focus is on the successful launch of the
BlackBerry 10 platform. While not arriving until the end of the year, the
experience of the PlayBook 2.0 for now offers a taste of whats to come with
BlackBerry 10, Heins said during the call.
During RIMs fiscal 2012,
it shipped approximately 1.3 million PlayBooks. On June 28, it will announce
the results of its fiscal 2013 first quarter, which ended June 2.
In a bit of inopportune
timing, analysts expect RIM to finally introduce BlackBerry 10 in October, when
Apple is likely to begin shipping its newest iPhone.
If the PlayBook offers a
taste of BlackBerry 10, at
BlackBerry World RIM offered a peek
. During his keynote address, Heins was
joined on stage by Vivek Bhardwaj, RIMs head of software, who showed off,
among other things, an improved keyboard that offers word suggestions over a
users fingers as he or she types. A quick, upward swipe at the hovering word
sent it up into the message. With time, the keyboard becomes tailored to the
The platform layout,
calling Microsofts Windows Phone to mind, is based on tiles, or maybe playing
cards. Bhardwaj showed off how all applications can be open at once. Instead of
arranged in a dull grid, the open apps are stacked, in a way, letting a user
swipe through the horizontal line of them, even seeing parts of three of them
Everything flows, no app
stops, they layer and you can slide back and forth, said Heins. That is the
power of BlackBerry 10no one else can do this.