U.S. retailers run out of PlayBooks; rumors abound that RIM is readying a new tablet

by Doug Drinkwater

October 9 2012

A number of retailers, including RadioShack, have run out of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets
A number of retailers, including RadioShack, have run out of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets

RIM’s PlayBook tablet is reportedly being dropped discontinued at the online stores of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, RadioShack and Staples, prompting suggestions that the next PlayBook is just around the corner.

Certain models of the PlayBook no longer appear on the aforementioned sites, while Office Depot lists the models as being ‘out of stock’. Only the 32GB model is now available from Canadian retailers Futureshop and Best Buy Canada, with these discounted at $153.

The news means that you can now only get the PlayBook from Amazon and RIM’s own online store.

IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell told Computerworld that far from being the end of RIM’s involvement in the tablet market, this news could well herald a second-generation PlayBook.

"There have been rumblings of RIM doing a second-generation [PlayBook] product," said O'Donnell. "I don't think they are going to quit the market yet."

RIM responded to the news by issuing the following statement:

“During the back to school season, a number of promotional offers have been in place with select retailers for the BlackBerry PlayBook. These promos were aimed to drive increased adoption of the BlackBerry PlayBook, and help drive sell-through to end customers.

“These promotions caused many retailers to run out of their current inventory, and we are working with select retailers to replenish stock over the coming weeks.”

RIM launched a 4G version of the PlayBook in August and is reportedly due to launch a larger (possibly 10-inch) tablet in Q3 of next year, according to a leaked roadmap

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