RIM offers free PlayBooks to Android developers and slashes price to $200

rim may dump its 10 inch playbook tablet in favor of a superphone blackberry

Research in Motion is finding good uses for its stockpile of unsold BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. Yesterday, Alec Saunders, the company’s VP of developer relations, announced on Twitter that any Android developer that submits an app by Feb. 13 will get a free BlackBerry PlayBook. This comes as RIM once again slashes the price of the PlayBook to help re-ignite interest in the tablet now that its new BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 update is about to launch on the device. A Wi-Fi-only 16GB PlayBook will now cost just $200 in the US, making it a viable (and much more capable) competitor to the Amazon Kindle Fire. It originally cost $500 when it launched in April 2011. 

Developers who want to get in on the action need to register with BlackBerry App World and port their app to the PlayBook by Feb. 13. RIM has some requirements apps must meet, but from our meeting with Saunders at CES, the porting process is quite painless since the PlayBook can now essentially run Android apps as is. Developers may also want to check out RIM’s “Runtime for Android apps Beta” toolset. The Canadian manufacturer now claims to have 50,000 apps available for the PlayBook. 

A few weeks back, we were able to check out RIM’s new tablet software for the PlayBook, which adds a full email app, calendar app, and contacts app, among other features and polishes. The new apps have taken far too long to get here, especially if you’ve owned a PlayBook since it launched, but the wait appears to have paid off. We don’t know if new software and a price cut will be able to revive the 7-inch tablet, but it’s definitely worth a look. At least, as soon as RIM releases that software update. 

Would you consider buying a PlayBook at $200?