Research in Motion, makers of the BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, is rumored to be planning to launch 2 new tablets this year. N4BB has some inside sources that say RIM will be replacing the existing 7" Playbook with a new and updated model (with a 3G connection). RIM is also rumored to be launching a 10" LTE equipped Playbook in December.
Given the questionable market success of the current Playbook, you have to wonder what they're thinking.
The Playbook was the most discounted tablet of 2011. I cannot tell you how many times it went on sale, and the price for the 16GB base model went down to $199 at couple points. That's 60% off the original retail, and it's the same price as the Kindle Fire. And now they're going to release 2 new models?
That makes me wonder. RIM wouldn't lunch new models if they weren't expecting to be reasonably successful, so I wonder what their sales figures are. There's good chance that all the negative press about the Playbook doesn't reflect how users feel bout the tablet. Perhaps RIM is selling more units than it appears. That would make sense, given their future plans to expand the line.
On the other hand, maybe they've decided to go bankrupt in a big way. But on the gripping hand, this is just a rumor. We don't know yet what is really going on.
I actually lean towards this being good idea. All those sales mean that there are a lot of Playbook owners out there. That's enough to catch the attention of at least some developers, and new rumors of future Playbook tablets will keep them interested. By the time the second 7" Playbook comes out (April or so), RIM should have a solid ecosystem of apps for it.