RIM's PlayBook Takes a Page From TouchPad's Playbook

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Ah, the sad life of being a tablet that's not an iPad. Sitting on shelves, trying to coax buyers into taking you home with price cuts and broken promises with limited success.

The latest contender to get a price drop is Research In Motion's (NAS: RIMM) poorly received PlayBook. Electronics retailer Best Buy (NYS: BBY) is launching a Labor Day sale in an attempt to move some units. The 16GB and 32GB models get a modest $50 discount, and the 64GB model gets a larger $150 cut.

The oddest part of the discount is that it puts the 32GB and 64GB model both at the exact same price of $550. Let me say that again: the exact same price. Someone must have been asleep at the pricing desk there. Why would anyone buy a 32GB model when you can upgrade to double the storage for the no-brainer cost of zero?

Although the price cuts aren't permanent -- yet -- or as aggressive as Hewlett-Packard's (NYS: HPQ) TouchPad sale, the underlying story is still the same: Apple (NAS: AAPL) owns the tablet market. At least HP got the idea fairly quickly that it was fighting a losing battle and decided to throw in the towel. RIM's PlayBook is destined to face a similar fate.

A recent report from Digitimes claims that weak PlayBook sales had led the Canadian gadget maker to lower second quarter internal sales targets from 2.4 million units to between 800,000 and 900,000 units -- less than half. The company also disclosed that it had only shipped 500,000 Wi-Fi models in the first quarter. Keep in mind that "shipped" is different than "sell through," and some of these units haven't made it into the hands of end users.

I still think Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) is the only player that stands a chance once it enters the Android tablet market. What do you think? Can anyone compete against the iPad? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Amazon.com and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Research In Motion, Best Buy, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Best Buy, and Apple, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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