Just hours after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced news of the new Kindle Fire tablet, Research In Motion (RIM) executives have given the green light for a substantial price cut for its PlayBook device. The tablet price war has begun.
The 16GB PlayBook was, until a few hours ago, selling on the Best Buy website for $499. Amazon’s unveiling of the 8GB Fire tablet on Wednesday for $199 suddenly made the 16GB PlayBook look way overpriced. So RIM has knocked it down to $299. That’s a hefty 40 percent price cut, but will it be enough to make any difference?
The 32GB PlayBook has been reduced by $200 from $599 to $399, while the 64GB model has been cut from $699 to $499. But that’s still a boatload of money when the Fire might do everything you want a tablet to do.
Amazon’s new Fire tablet, which will start shipping in the US on November 15, looks very similar to the PlayBook in build and design, with both devices sporting 7-inch screens and weighing almost the same. One obvious difference is that the PlayBook has two cameras (front and rear) whereas the Amazon’s new tablet has none. We’ll have to wait and see on the usability front.
It’s going to be fascinating to see not so much if, but when, other manufacturers in the mid-range tablet market cut the price of their own devices – and by how much. And will Apple, we wonder, be moved to knock a few bucks off its popular iPad?
If other tablet manufacturers find it impossible to make significant price reductions and at the same time fail to shift their devices, we can expect to see a few more dropping by the wayside in the coming months.