The BlackBerry PlayBook will not get upgraded to BlackBerry 10, Thorsten Heins has admitted, describing the experience of the tablet running the latest OS as not satisfactory. Speaking on BlackBerry’s financial results call today, the CEO confessed that after internal testing of BlackBerry 10 on the 7-inch tablet, the decision was made not to offer owners an official update.
It’s a decision that’s unlikely to go down well with PlayBook owners, many of whom have complained of feeling short-changed over the lifespan of the tablet. Originally launched as a companion device for BlackBerry OS 7 smartphones, the 7-inch slate proved dependent on its phone counterpart for essential functionality like email at launch.
A subsequent software update addressed that, making the PlayBook more self-sufficient. However, since then the tablet has been in a black hole of sorts, waiting on an update to BlackBerry 10 but with no sign of a release date. Now, it’s clear that the release will never come.
However, Heins said that BlackBerry was committed to continuing support for the current software the PlayBook runs. Exactly what that support means is unclear; users don’t yet know whether they’ll ever see new features added or upgraded, or if that just means bugs will be patched as the tablet works its way toward obsolescence.
Whether BlackBerry will attempt another tablet remains to be seen, with Heins previously cagey on whether the company believes it can successfully differentiate itself in a market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Back in April, he roundly criticized tablet-scale devices in general, arguing that a smartphone that could hook up to a large display – as the Z10 and Q10 handsets both can, via HDMI – was more useful for those on the move.
However, a clarification swiftly followed, which argued that Heins’ comments shouldn’t be seen as an indication that BlackBerry would never do a PlayBook 2.
BlackBerry sold 100,000 PlayBook tablets in its most recent quarter, compared to 6.8m smartphones.