We had some time to talk to BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins in Waterloo following the annual general meeting this week. High on our list of questions was about BlackBerry 10 not coming to the PlayBook. This was announced last week during the quarterly financial results, and the outcry from the CrackBerry community has been vocal to say the least. In broad terms, Heins said during the call that BB10 on PlayBook wasn't running as smoothly as they would like, so they decided to stop development. We had guessed as much; after all, the dev alpha devices ran BB10 way better with 2 GB of memory, so one can imagine how the PlayBook would have fared with 1 GB.
Obviously we needled TH about this further. He answered:
"That was a very tough decision to make. I could have done it, but you would have loads of comments on your site - 'How can Thorsten allow such a crappy product to be launched?' ... It was one of the toughest decisions I had to make because I knew I would break a commitment, but I also made a commitment to quality before that. ... I can't take the hardware back and provide them with 2 GB hardware. I can't exchange the part - there's no way to do this... I stand by the decision, as tough as it is. I apologize to the users that I couldn't get it done. What I did I did because I want them to have a quality experience with BlackBerry 10."
Thorsten went on to describe that even with features judiciously pared down by the BlackBerry software team in order to save memory for BB10 apps, the experience was still not good enough (he went so far as to make the case that if they had delivered BlackBerry 10 to the PlayBook, that users would be wanting to downgrade to the previous OS as the experience would be better). Make no mistake that BlackBerry fully intended to bring BlackBerry 10 to the PlayBook, that they worked hard at it, and that Thorsten personally feels bad that they've been unable to deliver what they promised. However, he would have felt worse delivering something substandard to the world.
It's not all bad news for PlayBook owners, however. We asked the BlackBerry CEO if they're considering any sort of loyalty reward for PlayBook owners to help maintain the BlackBerry love, to which he responded it's something they have been actively discussing and considering.
If you're a PlayBook owner, what would you like to see from BlackBerry as a sign of goodwill?