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RIM slashes price of PlayBook for Rogers employees, sign of things to come?

Well, Research In Motion’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did say this week that the company was looking at the possibility of offering rebates, various types of deals and, well, whatever it takes to shift some of those PlayBook tablets.

And now it looks as if some of those plans are being implemented. According to a BGR report on Friday, RIM is offering the PlayBook at a heavily discounted price to employees of Canadian cell phone carrier Rogers, a long-time partner of the consumer electronics company. Could it be that RIM executives are testing the water, with a possible substantial price cut for every Tom, Dick and Harry on the horizon?

The internal sale at Rogers started on Wednesday and will continue until December 1. Any Rogers employee wanting to take home a PlayBook tablet will be able to get a discount of up to a whopping 50 percent off the regular price.

So let’s take a closer look at the kind of deal workers at Rogers are being offered.

The 16GB model, which usually goes for $499.99 in Canada (about US$511), can be taken away for just $249. The 32GB version is being offered for $349 (instead of the usual $599.99), while the 64GB can be picked up for $399, down from $699.99.

The sale began a day before RIM released its latest quarterly report, the results of which were far below what the company had been hoping for. The poor figures were partly as a result of the PlayBook’s struggle to get a foothold in a tablet market dominated by Apple’s iPad. RIM only managed to ship 20,000 units in the last quarter, far fewer than had been predicted by the Ontario-based company.

Of course, RIM isn’t the only company battling with poor tablet sales. Hewlett-Packard ended production of its TouchPad device last month due to disappointing sales, Samsung is thought to have started poorly with its 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and on Thursday Sharp announced it was ending the production of two of its three Galapagos devices.

It’s not known how Rogers employees have responded to RIM’s offer, but if it proves popular there’s a chance it could be pushed out to all consumers. That would certainly stir things up a bit in the increasingly competitive tablet market.

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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)…
RIM radio interview goes bad, as boss refuses to answer the question, “What did you learn from the iPhone?”

When you’re Research in Motion, and have effectively been squeezed out of the smartphone market by Apple and Google, the question of what the company has learned from its primary competitors is going to come up in interviews. It would be wise, then, to have an answer prepared; after all, a lot of potential customers are going to be comparing your new products against the iPhone and many Android phones after today, so a few hints at where BlackBerry 10 differs wouldn't go amiss.
Sadly, in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, RIM Europe’s Managing Director, Stephen Bates either didn’t have an answer in his pocket or more worryingly, has accidentally admitted RIM has learned absolutely nothing from its competitors. Bates was being interviewed about BlackBerry 10, which launches later today, by well-known British radio host Nicky Campbell who posed the question, “What have you learned from Apple?”
Pretty straight forward question, right? Not for Bates, who stumbled for a second before replying, “So, BlackBerry 10 is a unique proposition...” After not receiving any form of answer, Campbell pushed again, asking, “Have you learned anything from the iPhone?” The response? “This market is a great market...” Blah, blah, press release copy, blah. The interview continues for another two-and-a-half minutes, where Bates continues to not answer the question, or indeed say anything about BlackBerry 10’s benefits, unique selling points or how it differentiates itself from the competition.
Embarrassing, and a missed opportunity
You can listen to the whole, embarrassing three minutes here, and it’s both highly amusing and terribly worrying at the same time. We’d be surprised if anyone listening and hearing about BlackBerry 10 for the first time will be inspired to seek out details later on, or try to find a new BlackBerry phone in the shops. The impression the interview gives is that BlackBerry is the same business focused, dreary option it has been for the last few years. Worse still, BlackBerry 10 sounded boring, and RIM clueless about what real people want from a smartphone.
No companies, especially ones in the midst of a make-or-break relaunch, can afford to ignore the competition - or at least, give the impression of doing so. Apple slings lawsuits at its enemies to undermine their products, Samsung makes TV adverts which poke fun at the iPhone and Apple’s clientele, and Google fills its competitors phones with its own, super-popular apps. We’d be surprised if RIM hadn’t been studying the iPhone, iOS, Android and the Galaxy S3 to see what makes them so popular; so why not admit it? It’s sales 101 - an opportunity to tell the world how much better and/or different BlackBerry 10 is from the rest.
Our experience with BlackBerry 10 has been good, and RIM is obviously working hard to make it a success, making careless interviews like this one doubly as frustrating to hear. Let’s hope Thorsten Heins does a better job of selling BlackBerry 10 during the global launch event later on today.

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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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