BlackBerry maker Research In Motion appears to have discontinued the 16GB version of their PlayBook tablet, according to recent reports. Though nothing is certain yet, it appears that recent price cuts on the PlayBook have drastically reduced the 16GB PlayBook's profit margins, to the point that RIM is barely making any profits at all from the sale of the device. Given RIM's current financial woes, they can hardly afford to sell a product on which they turn almost no profit.
According to Ubergizmo, RIM's response to a customer email hinted that the PlayBook would be discontinued, though currently remaining stock would continue to be sold off. RIM has confirmed the cancellation earlier today. Here's their statement:
RIM will no longer be making the 16 GB model of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The 16 GB PlayBook will continue to be available for distributors and retailers while quantities last. We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world.
We have limited quantities remaining of the 16GB version of the BlackBerry PlayBook, however the 32GB and 64GB are still available and offer great value to our customers.
The BlackBerry PlayBook hit stores in April 2011. With the iPhone and Android bleeding RIM dry of market share and the iPad having proven to be a mega-hit, RIM needed its own tablet. Unfortunately, the PlayBook's reception was lukewarm, to put it kindly. Critics savaged the device for its lack of certain features that are regarded as must-haves for any tablet, e.g., standalone email and calendar apps. While the update to PlayBook OS 2.0 earlier this year alleviated some of those problems, PlayBook sales have still proven less than impressive.
RIM, meanwhile, has been having severe troubles of late. The company's stock recently hit a near-decade low when it fell below $10 per share.