$199 BlackBerry PlayBook: the HP TouchPad of this Black Friday?

Perhaps RIM's $300 sale on all PlayBooks during Black Friday was too much of a good thing for the Waterloo-based company and its beleaguered tablet.

HP's summer fire sale of its short-lived HP TouchPad proved that there is no better tablet feature than a huge price drop, so the fact that the $199 BlackBerry PlayBook ($300 off regular price) is practically all sold out across America this Black Friday is not surprising. (Office Depot is only selling the slate in stores and I'm not counting Amazon/eBay sellers' stock. RIM and Canadian retailers like BestBuy.ca still have the higher capacity 32GB and 64GB models available so perhaps a trip up north is in order).

While some new PlayBook owners are quite impressed with their 7-inchers, others unfortunately got their hard earned orders cancelled days after completing their purchases online, as reported by Electronista. I know this also happened to some unlucky souls during the TouchPad fire sale, where retailers oversold slates without having stock on hand. In my case, despite receiving a "congratulations on my order" email from Office Depot, there was no guarantee that my order would be fulfilled because the shipment from HP had yet to arrive. I only breathed a sigh of relief when I received my tracking number and know my purchase was on its way.

Judging from comments from irate consumers on Best Buy and CrackBerry forums about their cancelled PlayBook orders, it sounds like stores once again took money for orders they could not fulfill. At least BestBuy.com is removing listings of the unavailable tablets from its website quickly, leaving just the accessories online to not give consumers false hope. But it still begs the question: Is it that difficult for any retailer to just sell the number of units it has in its warehouse?

Although RIM's $300 price cut on all PlayBooks is only good until December 1, with successful orders being cancelled this quickly by retailers, it doesn't seem like they'll be getting extra stock in-time to meet demand. After all, the idea with this sale is to clear inventory, not to sell more (likely) below-cost PlayBooks than necessary (sorry consumers). I guess that's the difference between a discontinued tablet and a discounted one.

Did you manage to bring a PlayBook home this Black Friday? Share your thoughts on your new tablet below.