16GB BlackBerry PlayBook being discontinued. Stay calm, 32GB/64GB models still available

Email from RIM regarding 16GB PlayBook
By Michelle Haag on 6 Jun 2012 06:24 pm EDT
It looks like if you want to pick up a 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook you'll want to do so sooner than later. Forums member ubermanx received an email from Research In Motion yesterday that made it pretty clear that they will not be offering the 16GB model in the future, though the 32GB and 64GB will still be available. Of course, this doesn't mean that the 16GB will immediately be pulled from shelves and become impossible to buy. Plenty of retailers currently have stock both in-store and online. It just means that the stores likely won't be replenished when they sell through this stock. When we reached out to RIM for a statement, we were told "In regards to your question about the 16G PlayBook -there is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32 GB, 64 GB), and as such we have decided to focus our efforts there."

There are several reasons why it makes sense to discontinue the 16GB PlayBook. For anyone that owns this size, you know that 16GB just isn't that much storage space. I have a 32GB PlayBook, and several times have run out of space for movies and other media. It's nice to have the option of the lower price point, but who wants to worry about running out of storage space?

Also, with the recent markdowns on the 16GB PlayBook, sometimes even below the common $199 price tag we see on the tablet from most retailers now, RIM is obviously not making money on this model, and in fact is losing money. Instead of continuing to sell through these and see no profit from them, it's better to keep the stock they have for RMA replacement as mentioned by fellow forums member stevedee: "They have to keep enough of every model for quick turnaround on RMA swaps. Since there is a higher percentage of 16GB sold, they have to reserve enough."

This also raises the question of the upcoming 4G PlayBook. Does this also mean that there will only be a 32GB and 64GB version of the new tablet? That remains to be seen, but it seems like a logical conclusion. With BlackBerry 10 coming out soon, it's also reasonable to think that you will need higher capacity storage for pictures, videos, etc. I'm sure there will be plenty of people that see the decision to no longer offer the 16GB PlayBook as the beginning of the end of the PlayBook, however in light of the circumstances, it just makes sense to focus on the 32GB and 64GB models. As stated in the original email, "We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to offer great value to our customers." You can join in the conversation in the forums at the link below.

Discuss in the forums

Michelle Haag Michelle Haag "@_Miche11e_ and C0001B3B5" 1214 (articles) 1695 (forum posts)

Reader comments

16GB BlackBerry PlayBook being discontinued. Stay calm, 32GB/64GB models still available


When it comes to storage on the device, there is nothing to 'focus efforts' on... you're simply adding or taking away flash chips on the device.
No idea what the real motive behind this move is but I know for sure there are plenty of use cases where > 16GB is not necessary.

The 16gb is really a terrible amount of storage. The base model should always be 32gb. I just hope this means that future PlayBooks and BB10 phones will be 32gb and greater. To be honest, it's pretty ridiculous that 64gb was the max tablet size 3 years ago and still remains the largest size. Prices should have come down by now on 128gb SSDs to allow for them to be affordable in a Tablet.

Very true! I bought a 16G as a replacement for the 32G I left on a plane and it keeps filling up! Should have bought a bigger one!

not a tech' reason, its 'cause they can't afford those overpriced apples ! shucks there are people who say they can't 32-64gb PBs when they are only 50/100 more than 16gbPB $199(msrp new) !!!

16GB is plenty if you don't carry a huge media collection around. Also, 16 GB is the top selling iPad and Playbook model, so others seem to disagree with you.

@IllmasterMathematics When will you guys learn that it doesn't matter what Apple sells, any amount of storage, any color, any price, anyTHING they sell, the general public will buy! It could be a turd with an Apple logo and it will sell, lol! They have the halo effect and the people love it all. Doesn't have to be the best, doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be cheap. Just has to be from Apple. I don't care for any of their overpriced garbage, but they have convinced the masses that iOS is the thing to have, even if you don't need a smartphone or a tablet. Buy it ANYWAY!! ;-)

Proudly written on my 16GB PlayBook.

Except for all intents and purposes, the iPad IS the best for the large majority of people. Many others have tried and failed. For the time being, iPad is top of the pile.

I'm a huge RIM fanboy, and I have to agree with the above statement that the iPad is the best Tablet for the general public. People want choices when it comes to apps and the iPad offers that. I don't ever use my iPad and I use my PB everyday, but I'm not part of the population that Apple cares about.

I could then argue that an Android tablet would be the best for the general consumer. The fact is that there isn't a "general" consumer anymore. People buy a tablet for some type of purpose, you can't simply generalize and say the iPad is the best for the general consumer because what if they want HDMI out? Can they do it on the iPad? Yes, although they would need an adapter, a very messy solution and hardly a valid excuse for not having it built in the first place. How about if they wanted to simply watch flash content? Can they do that on the iPad? Yes. although they would need a different browser or jailbreak the iPad. Also note that these are more or less considered "basic" and "standard" features.

I agree with your ideas here, but the truth is that the "General Consumer" doesn't care about HDMI out or Flash.

I never really want to defend Apple and their decisions, but the sales and reviews don't lie. Sure, people may buy the iPad because of the hype, but most people are happy with their purchase (I was not with my iPad, but only because of the PlayBook). Also, most people that bought an iPad currently have an iPhone which would again say that people are happy with iOS.

In case you haven't noticed, these are pretty basic tasks, If I have a video I want to play on a larger screen, I can use the HDMI out. Flash, consumers know about Adobe Flash, it's ingrained in their knowledge they know it like it or not. Yes sure the YouTube app works, but not every video works, as a content creator on YouTube we can choose whether or not we want to make our videos available on all devices or just computers.

Using your logic, that would mean the Mac OS X is super super super terrible because Windows outnumbers it greatly. Now is that statement correct? Not in the slightest, Mac OS X is still pretty decent, just because it doesn't have sales of Windows doesn't mean it's bad. You need to realize that sales do NOT equate to a good/bad product all the time. Each case is different.

You do also realize that the PlayBook got tremendous reviews when it launched, the nagging point was always the PIM apps, that's what really brought down the ratings. Reviewers were also saying the App World selection was limited but they were giving it a chance since the Tablet OS was fresh out of the gate and already had 3000 apps at launch, more than Android 3.0

Also, define the "general consumer" what is a "general consumer" and how would you even classify who fits into that category? These categories are arbitrary.

Using your logic, that would mean the Mac OS X is super super super terrible because Windows outnumbers it greatly. Now is that statement correct?

Yes, it's pretty much correct. Having used OSX up to snow leopard I'd say windows 7 beats OSX hands down. And once you get to know all the shortcut keys in windows you'll never go back to a mac.

For the record, I never will use a macbook pro, Yes I do review apple products, I'm a tech reviewer what can I say :P?

Being objective here you can't really say Mac OS X completely is terrible. Windows is just the preferred choice for many. It doesn't make it any better though. Personally I love my Dell XPS with Windows 7 64 Bit, but I'm going to be objective and say from my experiences playing around with Macs that they are quite a lot different from the experience I have with Windows, but that's not to say it's bad.

That requires the end user to go out and purchase a separate non standard component for that solution to work. An HDMI out can work easily. Plus if the user already has one laying around the easier it becomes because it's standardized.

It's the device that offers the most functionality with the least compromises.

Also, the numbers don't lie. Like I said, it's not the best for everyone, but it's the best for the majority of people.

Because RIM has had a second rate OS for a number of years.

iOS was a big leap forward in the phone business and Apple has been riding that wave for quite a few years now.

BB10 has the potential to be better than iOS (in fact with multitasking that potential is high) however will it be a big leap ahead like iOS was? Probably not and so it could be a very hard sell to convince consumers to go for BB10 when iOS, even with it's inferior OS but huge eco-system, just won't been seen as that bad.

My guess is most reviews will say we love BB10 OS but it doesn't have the eco-system to make purcahse worthwhile.

Before I get flamed just let me say, boy oh boy I hope I am wrong and that reviews of BB10 are glowing, but I just don't expect that.

Yeah, you couldn't sound more ridiculous. Your argument is ad hominem and baseless. Cogency is the word of the day, look it up.

Even though I shouldn't dignify your accusations about people that buy Apple products by addressing them I will. Let me remind you that the centre of this site's cult of personality prefers Apple computers. I also prefer Apple computers, and you'll find I'm fairly well-adjusted. I have considered my options and decided to spend MY dollars on the things I wanted. I am entitled to that and your unsolicited opinions are unwelcome.

None of this changes the fact that my original statement is true and you've presented nothing to contradict it or even anything on point. I don't appreciate you inciting this flame war in my name, either.

they are likely losing money on the 16G versions, and not so much (or are eeking out a profit) on the larger ones. Makes sense to discontinue it as their only other option would be to raise prices, which would IMO kill any chance of moving more inventory.

I brought a 16GB and it's way too small, I plan to upgrade to the 3/4G playbook when it is released and I'll pass this one on to my son as a present.

More excess luggage off the RIM Ship...we are all sitting and waiting to see where it docks, hopefully we will make it to BB10, before it falls overboard.

The 16gb does run out of room fast, I have one and I need to ration my storage. I would have liked a bigger one but at the time of the "sale" they were $199, 299 and 399. If I waited, I would have upgraded for the extra $50-100 bucks for more storage!

Having said that, RIM is probably getting a better "margin" on the 32 and 64gb models at the $249 and $299 prices, seeing that the chips probably don't cost $50-100 more to install. I think it is a good move, as long as the $249 price-point doesn't present a barrier to gaining new Playbook users.

Considering that people are gobbling up cheap Android tablets with 1 camera and 8gb storage for under $150 (and these tablets suck in comparison), I don't think people necessarily understand how the specs and performance of the Playbook are so much better with the QNX OS, even at 16gb.

Hope to see more Playbooks shipping and the userbase expand on this awesome device!

16GB is important to person who doesn't like to watch a movies on his tablet, why would he buy 64GB or 32GB if he doesn't ? RIM of course has its own reasons but I don't think the "movies" reason is the real thing behind that cuz people are not all the same !

I have no interest in watching movies on a tablet, but I still wouldn't get a 16GB. It's all too easy to fill 16GB these days.

In my audiobook collection, one book series alone exceeds 20GB, not to mention ebooks, pictures, music, apps-really anything other than text-based (short of full-size novels).

I think that the 16GB is the most popular model, not because it's what people need, but simply because it's the cheapest.

At least, that's my take on the situation.

That's funny the only reason I got a 16g at first was because best buy didn't have any 32 or 64 in stock.

In other words, they're finally starting to clear out the stock backlog. 16 GB being the cheapest sold out first.

My theory is when bb10 release, RIM would also release a new update for PB with a higher storage capacity to handle a new bundle of joy.. Apple did this when they released iphone 4s and ios 5 my 64gb ipod touch recived an update, but my sister's 8gb ipod didnt get the same update. Something Big is coming for Playbook owners 32-64gb..... Thank goodness I have 64...

You're forgetting that there was no "official" 8 GB 3rd generation iPod Touch, the 3rd generation iPod touch was only available in 32 or 64 GB.

Im sorry but i thought A1318 ipod touch are 3rd gen.?? Anywayz. Thanks for correcting me. Now back to topic. Yes i believe PB will have an amazing update coming on the way. Crsossing fingers and toes.

Nope :p Remember the 3rd Generation iPod touch has hardware upgrades, the 8 GB does not. The 4th gen iPod Touch 8 GB Model is in line with the other 4th Gen iPods and has received all the updates for the newer features such as the multitasking, has the same internals etc.

Reality check: software updates don't upgrade the flash storage on-board. If that was what you were referring to.

Reality check: software updates don't upgrade the flash storage on-board. If that was what you were referring to.

I would never recommend buying a 16gb anyways. It amazing over time how much you can accumulate data . I know that with using Printogo from my laptop to my PB I am starting to use a lot of storage space. For the little bit of extra cost; why would you not buy at least the 32gb unit?

I have a 16 & can't imagine running out of room, I probably accumulate as much data as most people, I just don't see a need to leave it on the tablet, transfer it off the tablet, its really easy, even if you do watch a lot of movies how many do you need to keep on the tablet?

Dude.... This video it couldn't be more fake! Rim is so aware of people may make wrong comments to the video, and they are even blocking words on the comment!! Rim can't even be fare and take feedbacks!! They know strike back is coming and they are just allowing...“ahy.. I so nice, ,,, wonderful technology ” please, in the first clip the robot woman see something on the tv,so then she pulled something like a wallet.... And... Ttaaatttaaannnn is suddenly a playbook, wow magic!! I swear, this video couldn't be more fake! That is the desperate mode rim is at this time! When bb10 launch, they will play this demos and then tell us is coming in a software update!! I bet my house on that.. Just to sell a couple of bb10 right of the back. Just like they did with the first playbook, back then they did show up a few android apps coming on the next 60 days, then 90 days and then in October 2011.. And finally ok.. It. Will. Be ready by February 2012.

They will just try to blow some eyes. And keep moving a couple of thousands with the promese of getting all they just see in that business video, which in this case isn't even just one device, it is some software or os from blackberry, because if you noticed, there was only one real playbook through the whole video! The rest of devices on the video ware some apple and even android looking! What is really good is the idea, but people... Is blackberry the one we are talking about right now!! So mos likely ,this is another dream to sell to the people! N

This may mean that BlackBerry is finally running low on the 16GB Playbooks and they are now going to try to run down the 32 and 64GB before they launch their new 1.5Ghz, super duper Playbook2. This is good news in my view.

I love my Playbook but I actually got two 16GB Playbooks on day one and they did fill up for me. Now, many people won't take five videos of their kids per day and 20 pictures but we did and that is what got us.

Now I have a 32GB and my wife has 64GB. We feel we have more than enough memory now.

If I were buying a PB today I would get the 32GB. That plus the BlueBox/Dropbox storage is enough for me.

I am one of the early purchaser's that had to pay the $500 for the 16g, but at the time I wanted the larger storage space yet was not about to pay almost $700. I understand some people tend to save everything yet myself a year later I still have 10gb of storage space left. My laptop with 500g of storage would look at my PB and laugh at the size. Speaking from a technician stand point it won't matter if we have a 16,32 or 64g storage space eventually the space will fill up without some house keeping. I use my PB at least 80% of any day and only load documents as needed then removed or saved to other media. I must say it would be nice if more memory could be added to future models.

What's the deal with 4g PlayBook?

If I use the tether option on the PlayBook to connect with my 9810 on a 4g network, would the speed be the same? How about the mobile hot spot option on the phone?

Also, why are people assuming the 16gb PlayBook can't handle future updates? Is BB10 that advanced it can't be installed on 16gb? All the hardware is the same. I mean, it's an OS that's designed to run on a phone.

Don't get your knickers in a twist kiddies. You can use the expandable media card in your BlackBerry via the bridge. Don't forget that bridge will be updated to use Wi-Fi in OS 2.1 so transfer speeds will get much faster than the current Bluetooth can deliver!

It could easily be a simple business decision that there is better margins in the 32 & 64gb models.

Additionally from a storage point of view 16GB may not be huge for some people's video and music library. With some people reporting BB devices saying insufficient memory it makes sense that 32gb is the lowest memory point.

Nothing to get too hung up about as it is still a fantastic product

Honestly record a few HD videos, download the must have HD games in App World, throw in your music, download HD videos as the PB hardware encourages you to and even 64G quickly runs out, esp bearing in mind that there is no memory card slot.
16G was the entry point a year ago but now is woefully inadequate.

It's too bad... the 16gb PB is a really good option to those looking at an 8gb Apple i-touch since it basically the same price. I mean for those who want an Apple product for all the apps, etc. will buy an i-touch anyway.. but for those who aren't sure .. picking up a 7" portable device that has 1080p capabilities, 2 HD cameras, double the storage space, etc. for the same price is really a great alternative. However, I agree that the storage is very low.. I gave my wife my 16gb PB and I purchased a 64gb for myself.
I hope this doesn't hurt RIM getting PB in the hands of their potential customers. They need the exposure with BB10 coming cause it sounds like the PB will pair quite nice to the BB10 phones.
It' would be good to know the % breakdown of how many have got sold to the public -> 16 gb to 32gb to 64gb. Cause if the 16 gb is very high .. I think this might hurt them.

I agree that it is likely that the 32 and 64 GB models do have better margins, plus I think RIM is trying to slowly elevate the price of entry for the Playbook again for two reasons.

1. They remain committed to tablets which means eventually there has to be a Playbook 2. RIM does not want to have to sell the second generation at fire sale prices. They want to be able to make money

2. RIM has stated many times their goal is to be an aspirational brand. The Playbook sells at bargain brand prices. This is not in line with RIMs long term goals but they can't simply put the price back to $600 on an aging tablet. So the alternative is to discontinue the cheap models and get that entry price back up to at least $300 so that when the 4G models hit and the Playbook 2 hits consumers will be accustomed again to higher entry costs. It just makes good business sense if RIM wants to continue in that space with BB 10 they need to be able to sell at price points that have a margin.

A-list games can eat up space fast. My PB will be used primarily for portable gaming, so 16GB won't cut it.

I have a 32GB card in my phone for music duty, so no sweat there.

Is it time for RIM to start talking about the PlayBook 2? Where is the next generation PlayBook with more storage , faster processors,better video etc.

I made a thread about that in the forums. No one really discussed it because apparently I should have used the search function. Well i did and there wssnt much on it

One less SKU, stocking requirement, channel reduction. This is just trimming the product line. Expect more of it, it is way overdue and necessary.

Completely agree nothing for people to get too hyped over. I look at BB's and see the Apple pre Job's second coming with a wide variety of product lines it seriously needs some rationalisation. Thorsten keeps talking about his lazer focus on BB10 same with their product lines, they need focus and rationalised. Good choice BB.

I think and agree this is merely a case of memory is very affordable (cheap).. why would they continue to make a 16gb device...

Presently the entry level IPOD shuffle is a 2gb device... Apple no longer makes the 256mb IPOD not for any other reason than memory is affordable and technology needs to keep moving..(and the discontinuation of that model did not make the news....)

All 16gb devices out there will all eventually be replaced with higher capacity models...

Anyone remember the 30mb hard drive of the IBM PS1? It was all the memory you EVER needed....

I still believe

What I would really like to know and am hoping for is whether a 10 inch PlayBook is going to ever be a reality. I understand all of the reason people like the small size, but there are some of us who would go out an buy immediatlely a 10 Inch PlayBook. Can someone from RIM or CrackBerry give us any information as to whether or not this coming down the way.


LONG LIVE THE BLACKBERRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Tool on which you can also have fun.

Regardless of the reason RIM may have for canceling the 16 GB version; they need to be doing damage control right now - assuming that they are continuing with the Playbook - and get out there to start correcting the media reports from various website (Globe and Mail/Toronto Star/News1130/CKNW) not to mention the myriad of tweets out there to which the media and people are saying that RIM has abandoned the Playbook; RIM has junked the Playbook: RIM has given up on the Playbook.

Just do a simple search on twitter for #playbook and #rim, and you will see people reveling in this decision; and are using it as evidence that the Playbook is finished, gone, and forgotten. Again, assuming that RIM wants to continue with the Playbook, they need to be out there - loud and proud - and clarifying that it is only the 16 gig discontinuation; other models have not been discontinued; and that RIM has no plans to cease producing/supporting the Playbook.

The Playbook is already in a fragile state - regular consumers, who dont visit this website, are going to start seeing the words abandoned/junked/given up - and this doesn't exactly make them want to go out and buy the Playbook.

Glad with my 16gig Pb ! Never ran out of memory untill now... No movies! It's all about the browser and gaming for me!

I love my playbook 16GB as i can take all the pictures i need and download all of the music i need too, if worst comes to worst just put all of your memory on to your laptop/computer and carry on, i have used 8GB so far so ive got a load more memory to burn before i run out but if your a heavy user go for the 32GB or 64GB

Each to their own re how much they load and keep on their PB's.

I use my 16GB daily but only keep on it what I need in the main, and that includes music and books. It's not my prime camera nor prime video recorder although I use it for both activities and store those pics/vids that I do take on it + copy onto my PC.

You want access to stuff then use Sugar Sync or Drop Box etc because I don't understand why people want to use a PB as a primary storage device when there are so many storage alternatives.

I've got 9GB free and this may go up or down depending on what I want to do with it over a weekly period.

Having said that, if RIM is cutting out the 16GB model because of unit cost/profit ratios then I don't have a prob with that. I'll buy the lowest GB version when I buy my next PB - these are the best darn devices on the market!!!!!!

I'm one of those people that use my PB for surfing the internet. I don't store any music or movies on it so 16GB has never been an issue for me. Loved the price tag that came with it, that's for sure.