The Blackberry Playbook had not had the best of receptions since the seven inch tablet was released earlier this year. The reviews have mostly been negative. Once more, shipment numbers have been much lower than anticipated for Research in Motion. RIM has tried to cut the price of the Playbook in recent months, including a drastic reduction to just $199 this week "for a limited time."
Now RIM is offering the Playbook to a select group of customers for the low, low price of free. Yes, RIM is now giving the devices away. There's a catch, of course. The offer is only if you are a business customer and you pay for the latest version of the Blackberry Enterprise Server software. If you qualify for that, you can get a free 16 GB version of the Playbook once you fill out the online form.
The fact that RIM is giving away units of the Playbook to some business customers along with reducing the price down to fire sale levels for regular consumers might lead some people to believe that the company is preparing to shut down production of the Playbook. However, RIM has said repeatedly that it will continue to both make and support the tablet. That includes plans to release a major OS update which is currently scheduled for February 2012. Still, one can't get away from the fact that RIM seems to want to sell off a lot of Playbook units in a hurry.