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RIM: Buy two PlayBooks, get one free

Blackberry PlaybookResearch In Motion (RIM) is looking for more ways to shift those PlayBooks. The latest idea, announced by the Ontario-based company on Friday, is to give a free PlayBook to anyone that buys two. But the question is, who’s going to buy two? Of course, there’ll be those asking another question: Who’s even going to buy one?

According to the ad on the BlackBerry website, the offer is aimed at business users, so RIM is banking on there being bosses out there who might be moved to equip company employees with its device. To further entice potential buyers, a BlackBerry leather sleeve, charging pod and HDMI cable will be offered for free with each tablet.

The latest initiative follows several others by RIM aimed at boosting sales of its poor-selling tablet. At the end of last month, a number of retailers knocked $200 off the device, bringing the cost of the entry level 16GB PlayBook down to $299.

However, it’s once again selling for $499. Also in September, news emerged that RIM was offering the tablet to employees of Canadian cell phone carrier and long-time business partner Rogers, discounted by as much as 50 percent.

The fact is, the PlayBook is struggling in a market where Apple’s iPad continues to dominate. During its first quarter of sales, RIM shipped 500,000 PlayBooks, but for the quarter ending in September, demand had already cooled markedly, with only 200,000 being shipped. Apple, by comparison, sold just over 11 million iPads during roughly the same time period.

When the PlayBook was launched in April, it came under fire for lacking a native email client and instant messaging app, as well as having a poorly stocked app store. This week it was announced that the release of a long-awaited OS update intended to fix some of these issues has been put off until next year.

RIM’s latest offering may grab the attention of some businesses, but with so many tablets coming on the market now, including Amazon’s highly-anticipated Kindle Fire, it’s hard to imagine the PlayBook ever taking off in a big way.

RIM’s offer runs until the end of December and can be purchased from a number of authorized resellers in the US and Canada (excluding Quebec).

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
BlackBerry World storefront goes live hours before much-anticipated BB10 event
blackberry world storefront goes live hours before bb10 event

Hours before Research In Motion (RIM) throws the spotlight on its new BlackBerry 10 platform, the company’s revamped BlackBerry World storefront has gone live, with new content such as TV shows, movies and music selling alongside the existing line-up of apps and games.
A quick look through its offerings reveals, hardly surprisingly, that pricing is comparable with similar services such as Google Play and Apple’s iTunes store.
The video download and rental options will initially be available to users in the US, UK and Canada, RIM said in a statement released earlier in the week. The company failed to say when the service will be rolled out to other regions.
Meanwhile, the music section is launching in 18 countries: the US, Canada, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
The Canadian mobile maker is promising video content from “all major studios”, adding that “most” movies will hit the store the same day as they come out on DVD, with TV shows arriving the day after broadcast.
“RIM is committed to working with content providers to bring the best, most up-to-date content to our customers with BlackBerry 10, and to make it easy for them to get what they want,” said Frank Boulben, RIM’s chief marketing officer.
The grand unveiling of the long-awaited BB10 mobile operating system, together with two new handsets, takes place today in New York at 10am ET, with other special events planned for cities around the world.
It’s been a diabolical few years for RIM, with today’s launch its best and probably final opportunity to reinvent itself. If it turns up with something exciting and can persuade enough consumers – and businesses – to give it another try, it has a fighting chance of getting its beleaguered business back on track and reestablishing itself as a serious player in the smartphone market. OK, Thorsten, show us what you’ve got....

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Big week for BlackBerry: BB 10 to launch Wednesday, Super Bowl ad to follow
10 reasons why blackberry just might save rim from oblivion bb10 fl

It’s been a long time coming, but Research In Motion will finally pull the covers off its new BlackBerry 10 platform this week, a platform the Canadian mobile maker hopes will restore its fortunes and win back users – both consumers and businesses – who've been dumping their BlackBerry devices for rival handsets.
A global launch event on Wednesday will see the company unveil two brand new handsets – one with a touchscreen and the other with a physical keyboard – together with an operating system designed to dazzle. The new phones are expected to start shipping some time in February.
Following Wednesday’s launch, RIM will introduce its new platform to the masses with a 30-second ad to be aired during the Super Bowl on February 3, a slot costing the company somewhere in the region of $3.8 million.
“A Super Bowl commercial is a great opportunity to show the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry to tens of millions of consumers on the largest advertising stage of the year,” RIM’s chief marketing officer, Frank Boulben, said in a release over the weekend, adding, “BlackBerry has 30 million social media fans, and we’re looking forward to continuing to encourage them and all NFL football fans to see the power of BlackBerry 10 for themselves.”
According to the release, RIM will also be launching a new tablet somewhere down the line, though no specific details were given. Such a BB10 tablet would follow in the footsteps of RIM’s current tablet offering, the much-maligned PlayBook, though an all-new design powered by an all-new operating system should give it at least a fighting chance of making an impact in the marketplace.
Once known as the Crackberry for its supposed addictive qualities, a failure to innovate and a string of service disruptions and other problems in 2011 caused many to exchange their renamed ‘Crapberry’ device for one made by rivals like Apple or Samsung whose handsets came with more features, more apps and fewer problems. If the Ontario-based company fails to impress with its new BB10 OS and hardware, it could be curtains for a company that was once king of the smartphone world. It’s going to be a big week for BlackBerry, and an even bigger year.
[via engadget]

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Lenovo may buy BlackBerry

Lenovo is considering making a deal with Research in Motion, in the shape of an acquisition or a long-term partnership, according to Wong Wai Ming, the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. The news comes from a Bloomberg interview with Wong, where he admitted there had already been conversations between Lenovo and RIM’s financial advisors; however no decisions had been made on either side.
The fact discussions haven’t progressed past an early stage isn’t a surprise: Research in Motion has BlackBerry 10 less than a week away from launch, and it’s attracting plenty of positive attention. However, RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins remains realistic about the effect BlackBerry 10 could have on the company’s fortunes, saying recently he’s still open to forming strategic partnerships through licensing the software, or an outright sale of RIM’s hardware division if things don’t go according to plan.
As for Lenovo, Wong said it’s, “Looking at all opportunities - RIM and many others,” before adding, “We’ll have no hesitation if the right opportunity comes along that could benefit us and shareholders.” Lenovo isn’t afraid of making big, bold purchases either, having snapped up IBM’s PC division for a total of $1.75 billion in 2004, and it has a team dedicated to exploring potential acquisition opportunities.
Lenovo’s smartphone future
Bloomberg notes Lenovo may not have an easy time if it does decide to make a bid for RIM in the future, not only because of security concerns similar to those held against Huawei and ZTE, but also because the Canadian government will review any potential takeover of this size; and it has already stated it would prefer RIM to grow without external interference.
Lenovo is keen to expand its smartphone business. At the moment, Lenovo holds second position in the Chinese smartphone market, with Samsung in first place. In December last year, CEO Yang Yuanqing said the next stage for the company was to head out into other emerging markets before tackling the established markets in the U.S. and Europe. At CES 2013 Lenovo announced the K900, a 6.9mm thick tablet/smartphone hybrid with a 5.5-inch, 1080p touchscreen, a 2GHz Intel Atom processor and a 13-megapixel camera. With hardware like this in its range, smartphone fans would likely welcome Lenovo with open arms.
Movement on a deal with RIM isn’t expected to come soon though, as the company will want to see how BlackBerry 10 is received before making any decisions. An analyst from MKM Partners told Bloomberg if RIM decides to get out of the hardware game, it won’t be for, “Several quarters,” yet. Research in Motion will debut its BlackBerry 10 phones and software on January 30.

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