Has Best Buy Abandoned the PlayBook? (UPDATED x2)

Best Buy launches a big sale on BlackBerry PlayBooks. "Everything's fine guys!" says BlackBerry. Best Buy dumps its PlayBook stash and doesn't seem interested in replacing them. "Um, guys? Is this what death feels like?"

The folks at Electronista have put together an interesting report: After slashing $300 off the price of a PlayBook, Best Buy has apparently sold out its inventory in a matter of days. Not surprising in and of itself; that's what sales are for. But what's curious is that while normally when Best Buy sells out of a product, they leave the page up with a "temporarily unavailable" message or some such thing, in this case, they're completely removing the PlayBook pages. As of right now you can only find PlayBook accessories, and a very limited quantity of refurbished models.

Does this mean the plug is finally being yanked on the PlayBook? Other major retailers like Staples and Office Max are also showing supplies in extremely limited quantities, too. But RIM is clearly committed to adding native email/calendar support in February. Are retailers just holding off until then to see if there's renewed demand? Or is RIM working overtime on a product whose buyers have given up? Either way, the slowly quieting death rattle continues. [Electronista via TechMeme]

UPDATE: It's even worse than we thought. People that had already ordered and paid for their PlayBooks (and were expending them to be shipped now-ish) are finding that their credit cards are being refunded and their orders are being cancelled. People in Best Buy's forums are claiming that they were told Best Buy is "overextended" and there are even some reports that some stores have cancelled all of their orders. Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.[Electronista]

UPDATE 2: This just in. Official statement time.

Starting Sunday, November 20th, Best Buy offered $300 instant savings to the BlackBerry PlayBook, reducing the price to $299.99 and $199.99 for the 32 GB and 16 GB, respectively. Customers have responded very positively to this short-term promotion available until Dec. 3 and, as a result, we are currently sold out of our inventory. We will have additional units available in the near future, at which time customers will be able to purchase the devices online at www.bestbuy.com.

So, there you have it. It's not the death-knell it seemed it could be. Probably.


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