Is the PlayBook about to get killed? No way, says RIM

RIM is denying speculation that it plans to kill the PlayBook. But does anyone believe it?

RIM is finally addressing speculation that it plans to kill its struggling PlayBook tablet.

In a statement released today, RIM calls the rumors "pure fiction" and says that it “remains highly committed to the tablet market.” Clearly, rumors of the PlayBook's demise were greatly exaggerated. But where did they come from?

For that you can blame Collins Stewart semiconductor analyst John Vinh, who said on Thursday that RIM had stopped production on the PlayBook and was looking to completely drop out of the tablet market.

This, of course, comes a day after Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch tablet that looks remarkably like the PlayBook and will likely make things much harder for RIM's fading tablet.

Then there's the news that Best Buy is cutting the price of the PlayBook by $200, making the price of 16GB version of the tablet $299. This, ostensibly, is due to the fact that RIM has only shipped roughly 700,000 PlayBooks since its launch earlier this year, and has probably sold fewer.  Scary numbers? Definitely.

If a lot of this sounds familiar, then it's because it's very similar to what happened with the mostly dead TouchPad.  Unlike HP,  however, which killed the TouchPad far faster than it should have, RIM seems pretty committed to its tablet efforts -- at least if you take its comments today at face value. But will RIM's commitment matter once the Kindle Fire arrives in November? I'm not quite so sure.

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