As Amazon rolls out new and improved tablet technology with its Kindle Fire, the competing PlayBook device from Blackberry maker Research In Motion (RIM) may soon flame out.
The PlayBook falls considerably short of the mark in a crowded field of well-developed and high-performing operating systems.
Hi-tech consumers are accustomed to carrying both a smart phone and tablet and using them for different purposes. RIM seems to have ignored this trend, instead offering more of the same.
“RIM developed a marketing story specifically tailored for Blackberry users who wanted to extend the screen size and hardware capabilities of their handsets,” writes Marc Weber Tobias of Forbes.
The reality of Blackberry technology is that it is not nearly as advanced as the iPhone or Android platforms. Blackberry devices can’t run multipurpose applications, and are mostly suited to email and minimal Internet usage.
“From the start, RIM had a flawed product strategy for the PlayBook,” Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told USA Today. “They had first-class hardware, but their software was not consumer-ready.”
The Amazon Kindle Fire, on the other hand, is a scaled down version of more elaborate tablets, with access to Internet browsing and media capabilities but limited Internet functionality. It reportedly outperforms the PlayBook and is expected to do sell far better.
The showdown of the two devices may come down to holiday prices and promotions. Amazon has priced the Kindle Fire at $199, which some analysts predict will make it a $50 loss-leader. Best Buy slashed its PlayBook price on Thursday by $200, selling it for $299 at retail.
Apple currently dominates the U.S. tablet market with its iPad and iPad 2. And the tablet market entered a cutthroat phase in late August, when Hewlett-Packard announced it would discontinue production of its TouchPad tablet.
RIM stock took a beating through the summer, currently sitting near the 52-week low at $21.76.