The most RIM has said about the price of their upcoming BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is that it will be “competitive”, and one suggestion put it under $500 for the base model (which was backed up with a retail listing). Mobile City Online has gotten a little more specific, and is listing the BlackBerry PlayBook at $599.99, with a “retail price” of $899.99. That price point isn’t particularly helpful since we don’t know if the listing is for the 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB model. Meanwhile, Negri Electronics is listing the BlackBerry PlayBook for $798.50, which we can expect to be for the 64 GB version.
So what are you getting for all that scratch? The BlackBerry PlayBook has a pocketable 7-inch 1024 x 600 display, two cameras (3 megapixels and 5 megapixels, both HD capable), a dual-core TI 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, GPS, and 3G when tethered to a smartphone via Bluetooth. The brand new QNX-based operating system can handle graphics, multitasking, and stability particularly well. We’ve got a full tour of the hardware over here.
The BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to drop on April 10, so it’s not entirely a surprise to see third party retailers starting to at least set up placeholders. I’m not sure if I would trust the specific pricetags being listed, but it’s helpful for getting a rough idea of what to expect, especially when combined with previous estimates. The iPad 2 is priced comparably, sitting at $499 for the 16 GB model, $599 for the 32 GB model, and $699 for the 64 GB model. Even if the PlayBook matches the iPad 2 at every price point and you brazenly consider them on par in terms of specs and performance, Apple’s tablet is launching a full month earlier. On the other hand, the upcoming Android options, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Motorola Xoom and LG Optimus Pad, are larger (which could be considered a pro or a con), and it’s looking like they could be just as expensive, if not moreso – that could give the PlayBook some wriggle room to compete.
Now let’s be realistic – is anyone really going to bite at a $600 – $700 BlackBerry PlayBook, or any tablet for that matter? Are we going to have to wait for 3G and 4G models so carriers can step in and subsidize the thing?