Analyst Claims PlayBook is Dead, RIM Denies, Best Buy Dumps

Conflicting reports on the fate of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet circulated on Thursday, starting with a research note from Collins Stewart semiconductor analyst John Vihn that claimed the company had canceled its unloved tablet endeavor. RIM quickly denied the report, but that didn’t stop Best Buy from lighting a [Kindle] fire on its own stock of the devices, slashing the price by $200.

Bring Out Your Dead!

Contrary to some reports, the BlackBerry PlayBook claims to not be dead quite yet

“We believe RIM has stopped production of its PlayBook and is actively considering exiting the tablet market,” Mr. Vihn wrote, according to Reuters.

His primary reasoning for making the claim is that Quanta, the manufacturer of the PlayBook, recently laid off a “significant number” of workers at the factory that makes the device.

He added, “Additionally, our due diligence indicates that RIM has canceled development of additional tablet projects.”

All of that is well and good. After all, RIM shipped 200,000 of the email-less devices in its last full quarter, down from a mere 500,000 the quarter before, and few of those were actually bought by end-users. Death may seem a fitting end for this particular would-be iPad competitor.

But not so, according to RIM itself. The company told The Canadian Press that Mr. Vihn’s report was “pure fiction.” The company insisted that it remains committed to the PlayBook (whether or not it’s selling, we added parenthetically).

OK, so it’s not dead…yet. Still, Best Buy appears to be bailing on the besmirched ‘Book. PCWorld reported that the retailer has slashed the price on its inventory of PlayBooks by $200, cutting the 7” device from $499 to $299.

While this isn’t the first time the PlayBook’s price has been hacked and slashed like a 12 year old’s D&D adventure, PCWorld noted that it’s the first one that came free and clear of any kind of strings, like the “cut” coming in the form of a rebate or a gift card.