The tablet market is getting increasingly competitive. Apple, the first major entrant in the tablet market, is still ruling it with a market share of around 80%. Android hasn’t yet been able to replicate its smartphone success in tablets just yet, and Microsoft is yet to enter the tablet market. It will launch Windows 8 only in 2012, and risks being late to the party.
Amazon launched a new $199 Android tablet — the Kindle Fire — yesterday, which is expected to change the game. In my opinion, it will kill off any competition in the low end of the tablet market which is currently dominated by Chinese OEMs, while affecting iPad sales only marginally.
RIM which foolishly priced its lackluster offering — the Blackberry Playbook — at the same price as the iPad, has been seeing continually dropping sales. Last quarter, it shipped just 200,000 tablets, which is about the number that Apple sells in a couple of days.
With Amazon’s Kindle Fire, RIM is starting to feel the heat, and according to a report by BGR, it has finally pulled the plug on the Blackberry Playbook. Sources at Quanta, RIM’s manufacturing partner reveal that it has laid off a lot of workers working on the Playbook, essentially halting the production of the tablet. While RIM hasn’t confirmed the news, it seems quite plausible.
I hope RIM holds a firesale for its remaining Playbook inventory too, just like HP did for the TouchPad. I would definitely buy one for $99.
Update from WSJ: Apparently, RIM isn’t killing the Playbook. In an email statement, it said that the report was “pure fiction”, and that it “remains highly committed to the tablet market.”