As we all know by now, Research in Motion is joining the competitive tablet marketplace with its new touchscreen iPad rival dubbed the PlayBook, due out early next year. Until now, many have speculated about the ultimate cost of the device and how it will size up against the dominant Apple tablet. In a new interview with Bloomberg, RIM co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie is shedding some light on this burning question.
Promising competitive pricing, the PlayBook will retail for less than $500. The low end iPad currently runs $499. From the sound of it, however, its unlikely that the PlayBook will match that price. Industry analysts widely believe the eventual price tag will range somewhere between $399 and $489. While lower priced than the iPad, it still may not be enough of a sweet offer to convince prospective tablet buyers to look beyond the iPad - especially since RIM will not initially provide the PlayBook with built-in cellular wireless capabilities. Subsequent generations of the PlayBook - if there are to be any - would likely come at a much higher cost than the first-gen model arriving during the first quarter of 2011.
In the bigger picture, of course, competition between the likes of RIM and Apple (with similar offerings from Samsung on the way) will mean lower prices for all tablets in the future. It's a win-win for consumers, says Matt Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities LLC in Boston who spoke with Bloomberg. ‘There’s going to be a lot of tablets on the market so I think pricing is going to start coming down,” he said.