Deep discounts bolster BlackBerry PlayBook sales, study finds

Research In Motion announced last week that it will take a $485 million charge in the third fiscal quarter due to poor sales of its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The Waterloo, Ontario-based vendor shipped 500,000 PlayBook tablets to retail partners during the slate’s first quarter of availability and just 200,000 units in the second fiscal quarter. Last quarter, RIM shipped just 150,000 units into sales channels. A string of big sales ahead of the holidays this year is apparently going a long way to clear unsold inventory however, and one study suggests adoption may have jumped by nearly 50% during Black Friday weekend. Read on for more.

Ad network Chitika on Tuesday published the findings of a traffic monitoring study that focused on impressions served to RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet between November 14th and November 30th. Beginning on November 22nd — and even before that date in Canada — RIM announced that select retail partners would offer the PlayBook tablet at a steep $300 discount, making the entry-level 16GB just $199.99. Starting in the early afternoon on Black Friday, impressions served by Chitika to PlayBook tablets began to climb.

Shortly after noon on Monday, traffic to PlayBook tablets saw a huge spike before leveling off on Tuesday. Even after stabilizing, however, PlayBook traffic was up about 46% over average levels before the holiday shopping weekend.

The BlackBerry PlayBook is the first device from RIM to feature the vendor’s new QNX-based operating system. While RIM’s debut tablet has not fared well in the market for a variety of reasons including a lack of native PIM support, we liked the slate as it compares to competitive offerings and found the UI to be a good fit for a tablet. RIM’s first smartphone to feature the QNX-based OS, now called BBX, is now on schedule to launch in the second half next year.

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