Best Buy Kicks Off PlayBook Sale, Cuts Prices By $200

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We reported earlier this week that Staples and Office Depot are running sales promotions for the ailing BlackBerry PlayBook, and today another big-box retailer has jumped into the fray. CNET reports that Best Buy has begun to sell all models of the PlayBook with a hefty $200 discount.

That price break brings RIM’s 16GB model down to $299, the 32GB model to $399, and the 64GB model to $499.

Unlike Staples and Office Depot’s promotions though, Best Buy’s price cut is a straight discount — no mail-in rebates involved. Best Buy had previously offered discounted PlayBooks in Canada, and they not too long ago lopped $150 off the price of the most expensive PlayBook.

Kicking off a mid-week sale is a bit strange for a retailer like Best Buy, whose sales periods run from Sunday through Saturday. RIM has recently said that “the official retail price of BlackBerry PlayBook has not changed,” and that they have struck promotional deals with retailers that are intended to drive PlayBook sales during the fall season. It could be that RIM’s plans are kicking into gear earlier than expected.

Still, the timing seems more than a little suspect. With yesterday’s announcement of the Kindle Fire still fresh on people’s minds, it’s possible that Best Buy’s mid-week sale was put together as a response to the Amazon tablet. Selling for $199 out of the gate, the Fire kills the PlayBook at the price game, and RIM’s tablet could be fighting for relevance and mindshare come the holidays.

Those looking to nab a PlayBook on the cheap may want to hurry: the 16GB model is already backordered on BestBuy.com. Then again, some people are convinced that a PlayBook fire sale is coming down the pipeline, so choose your deals wisely.

Disclosure: I am a former Best Buy employee, and still appear in Best Buy commercials.