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RIM's PlayBooks Are Finally Moving

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It's no secret that Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) has been having a hard time moving PlayBooks.

The notion of moving thousands of units in one fell swoop should sound like early Christmas to the beleaguered Canadian company. Between RIM's self-proclaimed "high volume of PlayBook orders" causing order delays and its admittedly "high level of BlackBerry PlayBook inventory," I wouldn't know what to believe if it weren't for its latest release detailing only 150,000 units shipped.

The latest news about PlayBooks getting a move on isn't exactly a positive development, since the users in question weren't exactly willing to pay for them. A shipment of PlayBooks was stolen from a truck stop in Indiana when the driver stopped in to use the facilities. One local report pegged the unit loss at 5,200 PlayBooks that were loaded onto the truck's trailer before it was commandeered, valued between $1.7 million and $5 million, depending on which models were inside.

Wait a second; my Fool sense is tingling.

Last time I checked, the high-end PlayBook price tag isn't almost three times the low-end price. A $5 million valuation implies a value of $962 per unit. The $1.7 million figure comes to $327 per unit, which is at least remotely reasonable, even though I could have sworn people only buy PlayBooks when retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) slices 60% off the asking price, down to $199.

Whoever came up with that figure needs to show their work, but either way the loss doesn't compare to the $485 million pre-tax charge the company already took in inventory provisions.

On the other hand, it's also not as embarrassing as the reports of muggers in New York who politely decline to take BlackBerrys and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android devices, only wanting to snatch Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhones. A pair of thieves has been preying on Columbia University students and has already turned down a Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) Droid and BlackBerry.

One student said, "It's insulting they don't want my BlackBerry," while another echoed the swindlers' sentiments, "I don't like mine. I'm waiting to get an iPhone myself."

This batch of PlayBook shipments isn't moving under the most opportune of circumstances, but at least they're moving and people actually want the things.

Want to stay up with the latest news and analysis? Use our free watchlist feature and start by adding Research In Motion.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended writing covered calls in Best Buy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 3:46 PM, powerphrase wrote:

    How much you made for this article. paid analyst and biased

  • Report this Comment On December 19, 2011, at 3:56 PM, makelvin wrote:

    RIM's Playbook did not have much interested buyers until they are sold at the price of $199. At this price, RIM has to be losing at least $50-$70 per unit. They are losing more money per unit than Amazon's Kindle Fire. But in the case of Amazon, they plan to make their money back through their thriving online business eco-system such as ebooks, video, music, and other online shopping activities; for RIM, how do they plan on making their money back from their lost revenue on their Playbook?

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2011, at 12:37 AM, Realexpectations wrote:

    I thought the article was going to be about

    The playbook selling so few it was cheaper just to send them back to China and selling the parts to apple or motorola

  • Report this Comment On December 20, 2011, at 9:47 AM, dxtx wrote:

    I have a Playbook and it is a great device, I use it all the time. It has a great UI and is very fast. It is the perfect size.

    I bought an iPad2 and returned it because of all the flash sites it could not handle, among other reasons.

    So there you have it. I tried both the Playbook and iPad2, I didn't like the iPad2, and ended up purchasing a Playbook.

    It is beside me now streaming Slacker Radio, as I use my computer to enter this message. It has built in stereo speakers and sounds good. And yes I can watch streaming movies and shows (Amazon on Demand,, Youtube movies), and I can play games on it (Need for Speed, Monopoly, etc). My biggest gripe is there is no official Skype App.

    I'll hazard a guess that most of you who comment here have never tried using a Playbook for more than a few minutes, including the author.

    I didn't know a selling point for an iPhone was the owner is an instant target for a mugger. I better buy an iPhone, I want to get mugged.

    Financial blogs have become more of a comedic relief for me, as I read through the articles and comments made by sorely uninformed people. In fact most comments read like they were written by 14 year old children.

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