RIM has today taken measures to ensure that no one has a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on their wish-list this Christmas by announcing that it is to delay the release of its PlayBook OS 2.0 software until next year. And that’s not the only bad news: when it does finally arrive, the update will not feature the company’s popular BlackBerry Messenger service.
The update, which is expected to either make or break the company’s debut slate, includes a number of new features that users have been waiting for since the device’s release in April, such as a native email client, support for calendars, and the much-anticipated Android App Player. A developer beta of the PlayBook OS 2.0 update was first revealed at BlackBerry DevCon earlier this month, and we all expected to see its public release before the end of the year.
However, RIM has confirmed in a statement on its BlackBerry blog today that the update will not drop until at least 2012:
“As much as we’d love to have it in your hands today, we’ve made the difficult decision to wait to launch BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 until we are confident we have fully met the expectations of our developers, enterprise customers and end-users.”
“We expect to deliver the new BlackBerry PlayBook OS to customers in February 2012 and we’ll continue to keep you updated as we progress to the launch.”
On BlackBerry Messenger for the PlayBook tablet, RIM said that it is still working on a seamless experience that will not be ready for the next PlayBook OS update:
“… we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBM™ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry® Bridge™ to securely access BlackBerry® Messenger™ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.”
The company has, however, release the Gold Master of the native SDK to developers, which will allow them to begin porting their native apps to the PlayBook platform.
If I was a BlackBerry PlayBook user, I’d be pretty disappointed right now. RIM has, in my opinion, been far too slow at introducing these much-needed features that its tablet should have had from day one. The device was been labeled “half-baked” by David Pogue of The New York Times in his review back in April, and six months on, RIM has done very, very little to improve it. Not only does this send out a bad massage to existing PlayBook owners, but it will also encourage tablet users to avoid any tablets from RIM in the future.
You can tell I’m pretty frustrated with RIM — and I’m not even a PlayBook owner — so how do you feel about the decision?