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BlackBerry PlayBook: Keep your eyes and ears open.


Senior Member
On Friday (two days ago), Telus, a major Canadian mobile carrier, reduced the price of its BlackBerry PlayBooks to CDN$149 for the 16Gb and 32Gb versions. They were sold out of 32Gb versions by the time I learned of the promotion, on Friday afternoon!

I followed the adventures of others who attempted to get BestBuy (and FutureShop, a Canadian chain now owned by BestBuy), Staples, Walmart, etc to price-match Telus's offer. Everyone's mileage varied.

Friday evening, I learned that Wireless Etc, the mobile solutions provider contracted to operate in all Canadian Costco stores, was also selling PlayBooks at the same price. Long story short, on Saturday I found one and I'm now the proud owner of 32Gb PlayBook for $149. If you want to read about my shopping adventure, it is posted here.

The PlayBook is amazing hardware outfitted with a robust operating system and a webkit-based HTML5-aware browser. The platform still has RIM's full support and the next version of its operating system (OS 2.0) is slated for release later this month.

I am impressed by the PlayBook's build-quality, performance (HD video playback is flawless; web-browsing is fluid, quick and supports Flash), and on-line documentation and tutorials. This is not a $149 off-brand tablet with a dim, cranky, touchscreen and hit-or-miss performance. Sure, PlayBook's software ecosystem is sparse compared to iPad and Android but OS 2.0 will include the ability to run many (not all) Android apps.

If you are interested in acquiring one, keep your eyes and ears open this week for similar deals in the US.

People have speculated that the reason for the insanely low price is not an HP TouchPad-like, "we're outta here!", clearance sale but simply to make room for the next-generation PlayBook that includes a faster processor and 3G (rumoured to be released in the spring). Honestly, even the 16Gb version at $149 is a fantastic deal.

If you are unfamiliar with the PlayBook (and only know of it by way of RIM's corporate soap-opera) here's a good place to start: http://us.blackberry...laybook-tablet/