Microsoft this Black Friday turned to selling off first-generation Surface RT units for $199 brand new. The new second-generation Surface 2 retails for $449, and arguably doesn’t change much. However, many believe Microsoft has dramatically slowed production of Surface 2 in order to avoid a repeat of the situation build by Surface RT, where Microsoft mass-produced hundreds of thousands of tablets that began to rot in warehouses.
For BlackBerry, the situation is pretty similar, but without a second-generation. With second-generation Z30 units barely trickling out to Verizon, largely due to already being completed before BlackBerry’s latest financial turmoil, the company is still stuck with the Z10 and Q10 as its primary models.
Today, BlackBerry rolled out coupon code BFEMAILZ10 on its online store, which takes the $399 SIM-unlocked price of its global Z10 model down to $199. The coupon is good through December 2, so while this isn’t an official markdown, it’s not a fire sale either.
When Google dropped the Nexus 4 down to $199, it was very clear that a new model was on the horizon, and it wasn’t clear if units being sold were being done so at any profit. Likewise, BlackBerry may barely break even when taking into account all costs of manufacturing.
That all said, this may also be a cunning tactic by BlackBerry that could be the formations of a plan. If the Z10 can be sold at break-even levels at $199, and manages to get traction as a powerful, cheap no-contract device… BlackBerry could start to add to the number that matters most; market share.