BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market (updated)

BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market (updated)

Summary: Sprint gives RIM's BlackBerry Playbook the old heave-ho before the 4G version even got in the mobile provider's stores.

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Research In Motion can't catch a break. The BlackBerry PlayBook, which has already suffered dismal reviews since it debuted in April, has the 4G-enabled version been dropped by Sprint.

The nation's third largest wireless provider was lined up to be the sole retailer offering and enabling the 4G edition of RIM's foray into the tablet market as both AT&T and Verizon Wireless passed.

Now that Sprint is out of the picture, the PlayBook has been all but abandoned and isolated in the United States to just a Wi-Fi-only device for the time being.

It's not terribly hard to figure out why Sprint has nixed its PlayBook plans considering the device has not gotten much favorable attention. Thus, why would Sprint want to even bother with this at all if it just ends up costing them money on marketing and more that it couldn't recuperate?

Paget Alves, president of Sprint’s business markets group, gave a more diplomatic response to The Wall Street Journal:

It’s an interesting concept, it just hasn’t caught on with business customers as much as they would like. There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer.

However, the Wi-Fi edition is still available to purchase from Sprint online as of 12:30 PM PT.

The PlayBook has also been plagued with other problems as of late, including miscommunication about software updates and delayed support for Android apps.

Although 3G and 4G connectivity is not absolutely essential to a tablet as many consumers are just fine with a Wi-Fi-only version, this does set RIM even farther back with any sales goals it might have had left for the PlayBook. Maybe it's time to just give up on this device and work on something new, whether it be a better tablet or other smartphones.

Hopefully the PlayBook's fate won't be the same for the HP TouchPad, which has met a similar cool reception from critics and customers to the point where HP has had to drop $200 off the base price tag. The 4G-enabled TouchPad is expected to roll out on AT&T's network "in time for back to school" season...which is just about now.

UPDATE: RIM Media Relations has sent us the following response:

RIM has decided to prioritize and focus its 4G development resources on LTE. We remain excited and committed to delivering innovative and powerful 4G tablets to the US market together with our carrier partners. Testing of BlackBerry 4G PlayBook models is already underway and we plan to enter labs for network certifications in the US and other international markets this fall.

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Topics: Mobile OS, Mobility, BlackBerry, Security, Telcos

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22 comments
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  • Wow now there's something COMPLETELY UNSURPRIZING

    Playbook dead. RIM dead. TouchPad dead. webOS dead. Please people stop wasting time and money investing on loser doa products. Any oem officer/exec/manager who proposes/champions any more non Windows 8 tablets should get the shareholder boot asap. Looking at you especially HP!
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @Johnny Vegas
      Where are RIM's munchkins? Here is Johnny Vegas, substituting for Loverock Davidson, spouting the Microsoft Talking Point of the Day. He does this every day. He's a Munchkin. It's how he rolls. Microsoft has had Munchkins trolling the forums since they were trying to badmouth OS/2 while they worked on Windows 95. This works. It probably costs a little money, but RIM isn't broke. Surely they could afford a Munchkin or two to come in here and spread the gospel according to Basillie.
      Robert Hahn
    • but management has to do something

      @Johnny Vegas So they launch these products with no real thought, but only with the vision that we have to do something.
      otaddy
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @Johnny Vegas What does webOS have to do with this?
      jgm@...
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @Johnny Vegas
      You have the mentality of a MS shareholder. Hope for success after a decade of failure with a product won't even be released until a year from now.
      anono
  • Pedantic correction:

    Recoup, not recuperate.
    msalzberg
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @msalzberg
      Yeah, that's the substitution I made.
      DannyO_0x98
  • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

    No big surprise here. Move along, nothing to see. The train wreck that RIM has become has, and should scare the pants off of every tech company that 'competes' with Apple. RIM was, and is a one trick pony. It's been a couple of years or more since I've heard any 'crack berry' jokes. When your product becomes a social phenomenon, rejoice, but look over your shoulder. "Sic Transit Gloria" is ever present, yes, even for Apple. The difference is that Apple seems to heed the wisdom and plans ahead better than other tech companies. Instead of resting on drying laurels, like RIM has done, Apple designs products that average users desire.
    There was an article here recently about how one doesn't 'need' an iPad. I agree. I have one. I don't 'need' one in the sense that I need air, or food, or water, or even a laptop (I have a sexy black MacBook I use to write). That said, I wanted one. I use the heck out of my iPad for surfing, email, content viewing, etc. I think it will have paid for itself in a year or so because I seldom buy a newspaper when I go out to eat. I just open up my iPad, log onto the restaurant's wifi and read the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, etc.
    Oh, and 'hopefully' is misused as well. Try the Chicago Tribune Book of Style.
    dheady@...
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @dheady@...
      It's "Sic transit gloria mundi," "thus pass the glories of this earth." Good advice for any tech vendor.
      CtkrockSr
      • indeed!

        @CtkrockSr +1 +1 +1
        otaddy
    • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

      @dheady@...

      Funny I use my Playbook the exact way as it also can connect to any Wifi location, I also have the added bonus to either tether my Blackberry via Bridge and bypass any carrier data fees or outright tether. (Something iPad still cannot do).
      MobileAdmin
      • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

        @MobileAdmin Doesn't AT&T charge for the use of Bridge?
        athynz
      • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

        @MobileAdmin
        I am using the Playbook too and haven't found it anything inferior to iPad2 in terms of hardware, but on the software. Hope RIM can support the Android apps ASAP~
        sam0403
  • RE: BlackBerry Playbook dropped by Sprint, abandoned in U.S. market

    Wow, this is the best news I have heard in a week... RIP RIM... we wont miss you and your crapberries
    browser.
    • Why is this good news.

      @browser.

      Apple, and Android, need as many competitors they can get. We don't the the tablet market to end up like the desktop market. No matter who is at the top.
      A Grain of Salt
      • Tru Dat!!

        @A Grain of Salt ... Just saying...

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
  • Smear campaign continues

    I love the sensational headlines on ZDNet, Umm how can Sprint (or any carrier) drop a device they never sold? There has been no 3G / 4G Playbook released.

    I don't see the point of a WiMax Playbook as Sprint has stated they are transitioning to LTE (as is the industry) so while it would be nice for those that want a carrier radio in a Playbook, the industry is moving to a new network so the appeal of a 3G Playbook is low. RIM will have a carrier Playbook later this year much to everyone's dismay and it will likely have a subsidy unlike iPad.

    Please add to your headline

    *Sprint still doesn't carry iPad or iPhone

    Here's another good one

    Sprint & T-Mobile abandon Apple devices.
    MobileAdmin
  • Message has been deleted.

    shidu
  • Message has been deleted.

    shidu
  • Message has been deleted.

    shidu