RIM discontinues 16GB PlayBook tablet

RIM will no longer produce its 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook (and arguably its most popular model), the company has announced. It plans to begin phasing out the device once current stocks of the tablet are depleted.

The company has said it will continue to manufacture the 32GB and 64GB models of the PlayBook. "We continue to remain committed to the tablet space and the 32 GB and 64 GB models of the BlackBerry PlayBook continue to be available from our distributors and retailers around the world," a spokesperson said.

The 16GB version currently retails for £169, while the 32GB and 64GB are sold for £199 and and £249, respectively.

The PlayBook tablet represents a key part of RIM's forward-looking strategy, as it is the first device to feature the QNX operating system the company hopes to champion. The first quarter of 2012 proved disappointing for PlayBook sales, with just over half a million sold. By comparison, Apple sold nearly 12 million iPads during that same period.

The first week of June saw shares of RIM drop to their lowest point since 2003, after the Canadian company predicted an operating loss for the quarter. Stock value has since rebounded slightly, but still represents less than a tenth of what it was at its peak.