BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet to Cost Less Than $500

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Research in Motion’s 7-inch BlackBerry PlayBook tablet will cost less than $500 when it becomes available in the U.S. early next year. RIM executive Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg, “The product will be very competitively priced.”

As tablet makers attempt to find ways to compete with Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad, which starts at $499, pricing is one of the more obvious target areas.

RIM has also sought to differentiate its offering by heavily emphasizing the PlayBook’s ability to run Adobe Flash applications and videos. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been vocal about his distaste for Flash—the iPad doesn’t support it—and cites HTML5 as a viable alternative.

(Two Minute Video: How the BlackBerry PlayBook is Different)

Balsillie contends that the iPad’s stranglehold will be weakened once RIM enters the tablet market next year, saying that “customers are getting ‘tired’ of Apple’s controlling business strategy,” according to Bloomberg.

In related news, RIM and AT&T have dropped the price of the BlackBerry Torch from $200 to $100. The Torch, RIM’s latest cell phone, went on sale in early August and generally received lukewarm reviews.

(BlackBerry Torch Review: Too Little Too Late?)

The phone’s 624MHz processor, 3.2-inch screen, and standard-definition video camera likely made it a tough sell against other $200 handsets sporting 1GHz processors, larger high-resolution displays, and HD-capable cameras.

The $100 price point makes for a much more compelling purchase now and should be enough to entice a greater number of people—especially current BlackBerry users looking to upgrade—to choose the Torch over most of the other currently-available BlackBerry models.

More on Techland:

BlackBerry PlayBook Tablet Demo: Multitasking, Adobe Apps

BlackBerry Introduces 7-inch ‘PlayBook’ Tablet

Two Minute Video: The New BlackBerry Torch in a Nutshell