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CTIA: More Analysts Weigh in on Price of BlackBerry PlayBook

It’s the greatest, geekiest reason for a bar brawl since Barney Gumble punched Wade Boggs for arguing William Pitt (the Elder) was a better prime minister than Lord Palmerston: how much should RIM charge for its coming PlayBook enterprise tablet?

In my original post, I suggested that RIM could get away with a retail list price of $1,500.

I had four reasons for my argument:

1) the $2,000 list price for Avaya’s enterprise tablet,

2) the PlayBook’s impressive specs (first with dual-core! 1 GB RAM! two HD cameras!),

3) RIM’s success at targeting the relatively less price-sensitive enterprise buyer,

4) the expected telco subsidy would likely bring the two-year contract price for a PlayBook down to about $1,000 to consumers.

Analysts quickly shot down my idea, however, saying that RIM will need to price the PlayBook well under the iPad at $300-$350 in order to catch up quickly and not be left a marginal player.

IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian agrees the PlayBook will have strong enterprise appeal because of BlackBerry’s strong security reputation.

She doesn’t think those above projected prices are too aggressive at all. RIM “doesn’t want to be priced out of the market,” she said.

Enterprise Mobility Foundation founder (and former Yankee Group, Strategy Analytics and IDC analyst) Philippe Winthrop thinks the PlayBook will end up going for between $499 (iPad’s entry-level price) and $599.

“If I were them (RIM), I would take the (profit) margin hit in order to make it up on market share,” he said.

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