The One Place Where RIM’s PlayBook is Gaining Ground: Canada

Yesterday, we reported that while the global smartphone market is expanding at a steady pace, RIM’s share of that market is shrinking. But what about tablets?

Well, with under a million sold after nearly a year, the BlackBerry PlayBook has been a certified flop. With delays to its OS 2.0 update and 7-inch tablets like the Kindle Fire available for just $199, RIM’s tablet has been a tough sell. After shipping a promising 500,000 units during its first quarter, the numbers have dwindled from there, shipping just 150,000 in its most recent quarter.

But hope remains. In North America, and Canada especially, RIM has been offering steep, “limited time” discounts to the PlayBook—selling the $500-plus devices for as little as $199, a whopping 60% off, and even giving it away for free in some cases. This has managed to boost the tablet’s marketshare in Canada, where the Fire isn’t yet available and the discounts are most prominent.

According to research conducted by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group as part of its Digital Life Canada Quarterly report, the PlayBook’s marketshare has jumped from a meagre 5% last year to a respectable 15% now. However, this gain has come at a high cost: the sharp discounts have cost RIM more than $500 million already, and with the sales having lasted months, it will be nearly impossible to convince consumers to pay full price ever again.