The much delayed updated to RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook seems confirmed for release on February 21, if internal marketing docs obtained by Engadget prove to be accurate. The update is expected to show at Mobile World Congress later this month, but now we have a more precise date for anxious PlayBook owners.
According to Research In Motion, the folks who bring you BlackBerry, we're likely going to see a second iteration of the infamous PlayBook tablet's own unique operating system at Mobile World Congress 2012. Though the company saw less than stellar sales with the PlayBook tablet thus far, they do continue to support it through software updates and promotions such as the Free Tablet Per App program offered to Android developers just this past month. BlackBerry senior brand manager Jeff Gadway spoke at a meeting with PCmag today saying that this new operating system update will bring email, contacts, calendar, and the ability to run the Android apps just mentioned on the tablet.
RIM's VP of developer relations Alec Saunders has offered up free PlayBook tablets to Android developers today in exchange for their apps. All they've got to do is make sure they're signed up and have submitted their Android app to BlackBerry's BB AppWorld by the 13th of February. If your humble narrator didn't know any better, it would seem that RIM is desperate not only to get rid of their remaining stock of the PlayBook BlackBerry tablet, but to get Android users interested in working with them, no matter the cost.
The long overdue BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update may finally be arriving in February, if RIM follows through on its latest promise. According to a post today by RIM's Developer Relations team, the update will be available next month, packing the BlackBerry Runtime for Android Apps feature that allows Android apps to run on the PlayBook tablet.
RIM's first QWERTY BlackBerry 10 handset won't arrive until December, according to the latest leaks from the ailing company, with a further keyboard-toting slider tipped for early 2013. After last week's twin PlayBook tidbits as well as news on new Curves, BGR's sources reckon the BlackBerry London will hit in September, but will be followed in December by a combo touch and QWERTY device running the BlackBerry 10 OS and slotting into the Bold series.
New RIM CEO Thorsten Heins will jump straight into finessing the reworked BlackBerry PlayBook for a launch early this year, ex-CEO Jim Balsillie has confirmed, though the prospect of a refreshed tablet hasn't helped the company's diving share price. Described as "a revamp of the poorly selling PlayBook tablet expected early this year" by the WSJ, the new PlayBook is believed to be the replacement 7-inch "3G+" model tipped in a leaked RIM roadmap earlier this month.
2011 wasn't Research In Motion's year and 2012 is shaping up to be equally dismal one, with dramatic PlayBook price cuts paving the way for an underwhelming financial quarter. It's easy to see why RIM went down the tablet route: the iPad made slates fashionable, and the Canadian company was stinging from criticism over its underwhelming touchscreen smartphones. The PlayBook was an opportunity to show that RIM could legitimately compete and perhaps even drive some ecosystem shopping in the same manner that iPhone users often pick up an iPad, and vice-versa. Yet in the process RIM managed to forget everything that gave it unique appeal in the mobile segment.
RIM has two more BlackBerry PlayBook tablets in the pipeline for 2012, according to a roadmap leak, including a 10-inch LTE-enabled model targeting late holiday sales. Despite the poor reception of the first-gen PlayBook - recently slashed to just $299 apiece - product information leaked to N4BB indicates a new 7-inch "3G+" PlayBook is expected in April, with a 10-inch LTE-equipped PlayBook due in December. There's also word on when we might expect to see the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones; more after the cut.
The reasons behind RIM's BlackBerry 10 device delay continue to be debated, with analysts joining the ranks of those doubting simple chipset patience is the cause of the late-2012 launch and instead suggesting significant problems with the new software. Speculation that the slower than expected debut of the next-gen smartphones was down to poorly functioning software came to a head last month, with controversial claims allegedly from an exec at RIM accusing co-CEO Mike Lazaridis of lying to investors.
RIM has kicked off another round of BlackBerry PlayBook discounts, and this batch could be the most desperate to date: all models, whether 16GB, 32GB or 64GB are just $299. Slashed in price until February 4, the deal means a whopping $400 off the max-capacity PlayBook, as RIM attempts to offset its $485m hit on unsold stock.