BlackBerry PlayBook price slash kicks off lousy 2012 for RIM

Research in Motion has slashed the price of its PlayBook tablet range, as some retailers dip even lower. Another bad year in the sights for the BlackBerry maker?

After Research in Motion's annus horribilus, the new year has not brought much luck to the Canada-based company.

The company's struggling PlayBook tablet, which had been used as a testing ground for the next-generation QNX-based operating system for its more popular BlackBerry smartphone range, is being flogged off at a vastly discounted rate.

As Research in Motion glides gently on the surface of the water, its feet are paddling like crazy to shift the stock. It is becoming increasingly clear that as the company bobs in the water, waving to onlookers, it is in fact drowning.

From now until February 4th, or whenever its inventory is wiped clean, all models of the BlackBerry PlayBook will cost a mere $299 in the United States.

While no change can be seen in the UK, many are knocking down the recommended retail price even further. Amazon UK has knocked off nearly £60 ($95) off the price of the 16GB model, but warns that stocks are close to running out.

The BlackBerry smartphone and tablet maker continues to battle with its unsold inventory woes. This time last month, Research in Motion said it would stick with the tablet market, as the company looked to book a charge for $485 million due to poor PlayBook sales.

Clearly the company is taking a tip from HP's book, as the firesale of the then-doomed TouchPad tablet pushed its marketshare up to take the third place spot in last year's third quarter results, at 5 percent of the market.

Research in Motion is far from calling this a firesale, with a spokesperson declining to comment. What is clear is that this year is already starting off on a rough start for the company, as the company loses out to other major mobile players.

Image source: Flickr.