With the biggest shopping season of the year just around the corner, RIM has announced a major discount for its Blackberry Playbook tablet. The Playbook, which launched this spring for $499, is now available for just $199 from retailers including Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Radioshack, Office Depot and more.

After sluggish initial sales of the tablet, some retailers had already been offering ad-hoc discounts that brought the price to as low as $299. But at $199, the Playbook is now squarely in red-hot Kindle Fire range.

RIM says the discount is only for a "limited time," but if sales see a spike, we wouldn't be surprised if the Playbook kept the new, trim price point  into 2012.

[via CNET]