RIM's Playbook tablet to rival iPad for price

Research in Motion has suggested that it will release its own tablet computer for under $500 as it aims to take on the iPad with its release early next year. 

“The product will be very reasonably priced,” said Co-CEO Jim Basillie of the forthcoming BlackBerry Playbook which was announced in September, saying it will be priced “under” $500, according to Bloomberg.  As many smartphone firms move into the tablet market Basillie gave an indication of RIM’s own ambition to break into a market largely controlled by Apple’s device.

RIM will also attempt to differentiate itself from Apple’s product by focusing on the Playbook’s ability to use Adobe’s Flash technology, the software that the iPad notoriously lacks.

RIM is hoping to make up for lost ground as the once ubiquitous corporate smartphone, the BlackBerry, sees its dominance being chipped away by firm such as Apple, with its share of the smartphone market reduced from 19 percent to 18 in the past year. 

This on the back of some major corporations such as Citigroup and the Bank of America shifting to using rival devices, with Dell announcing that it will aggressively seek to take corporate business from RIM by helping clients in the transition.  

It has also recently been announced that Kaufman Bros analyst Shaw Wu downgraded RIM from “buy” to “hold” after stating that the Canadian company faces stiff completion in the market. 

“We believe this could make it more difficult for BlackBerry to sustain unit and subscriber growth,” analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a note to clients. “We agree with Steve Jobs in that it isn’t clear there is room for a third software platform besides (Apple’s) iOS and Android.”

Apple’s Steve Jobs also hit out last month saying that BlackBerry faces an uphill struggle in order to establish an app store with Apple and Google ahead of RIM.

It has also been announced today that AT&T, the second largest mobile phone carrier in the US, will drop the price of the BlackBerry Torch by half after three months of sales, though this is not expected to affect RIM’s profits.