Development on the BlackBerry PlayBook 10" ceased, efforts now being put towards new QNX BlackBerry smartphones?

By Bla1ze on 28 Jun 2011 02:28 pm EDT
BlackBerry PlayBook

Although the 10" BlackBerry PlayBook remains a rumor at this point as far as RIM is concerned there is no doubt that there is more then a few versions of them out there being used and tested. As we know from recent events, RIM always has a development path they like to follow and the next BlackBerry PlayBook was on that list but given that development path has finally got them in trouble it's now being suggested development on the next BlackBerry PlayBook has ceased. Reason for it? To concentrate development efforts on the next set of BlackBerry smartphones powered by QNX.

Taking all things under consideration, this isn't all that much of a stretch of the imagination. Quite frankly, this is most logical rumor we've heard about RIM in quite some time. They've already admitted for lack of better words that they got caught with their pants down in terms of their development cycles and now  we're stuck waiting for BlackBerry 7 powered devices with QNX enabled BlackBerry devices at least a year out.

If all turns out to be accurate here, we should be seeing QNX arrive on a hand-held sooner then expected, assuming RIM can redirect the development accordingly. Alas, it's all still just a rumor at this point and we may never  know what, exactly RIM has planned. One thing is for certain, this rumor needs to be reality and should have been a reality six months ago or longer.

Discuss in the CrackBerry Forums

Source: N4_BB

Reader comments

Development on the BlackBerry PlayBook 10" ceased, efforts now being put towards new QNX BlackBerry smartphones?


I agree wholeheartedly that the phones are in dire need of attention and that RIM needs to get a move on putting together all the pieces of their acquisition puzzle to build the phones the fans have been dying for.

However, I do not see how that needs to delay plans for a 10" Playbook in anyway shape or form. A new size for the Playbook should not require that much development time. The hardest parts would be sourcing the secondary components from suppliers since the CPU, GPU and associated chipsets can simply be carried over from the existing model. Find a 10" screen of comparable quality and resolution to the 7" and a slightly bigger battery with the same voltage requirements to cut back on time needed to optimize, update playbook API's to support a second resolution and call it a day.

Plus if other recent rumors are true that the 10" is already out in the real world undergoing testing, then the work is already pretty much done and all that's really left to do is negotiate supply chain and manufacturing contracts to get it out at a competitive price point. Unless RIM is really really ass backwards and has the same people negotiating with suppliers for final production as developing software and testing and prototyping hardware then there should be no reason at all at this point that a 10" Playbook would have any impact at all on the development of QNX for phones.

I suspect if the 10" Playbook has indeed been cancelled at this point in the game the reason has absolutely nothing to with phones.

If anything I would suspect that market conditions and pricing considerations would delay the 10" more then anything else. Perhaps the margins are still to thin on the 7" to lower the price and RIM rightly feels they would not be able to sell the 10" at a higher price then the 7" as most of the competition has priced their 10" offerings at the same price points or lower then the iPad 2. But since the 10" was supposed to have the exact same innards as the 7" anyway, there is no logical reason development of phones would cause the delay as the development of the QNX based BlackBerry OS for the current Playbook is done and and the resources to supporting it would already have been allocated.

Only way canning the 10" would have anything to do with reallocation of resources to phones is if the Playbook was canned ENTIRELY, and since I don't for once second buy the idea that RIM is ready to kill the Playbook entirely by not continuing support for it, I would say this rumor is false

it makes no sense for them to release a 10" inch version in Oct-Nov time frame with similar specs when they anyways will be releasing a refreshed Playbook 2 in April'12. secondly they can't afford a delay in developing a QNX phone.

This is what they need to do good for them. I also think the reason for the delay on the bold 9900 is because they might also be adding the QNX to it or just making sure its fawless for its release cause they know they need to get back in to the game and tear it up like they use to!!

The chances of me becoming a billionaire by the end of this year are greater than 9900 getting released with QNX on it.

This is definitely the right move from RIM, because phones are the products that bring in the most money and notoriety for them.

Though the phones should be the focus, it kind of discourages me that RIM apparently can't focus on developing different kinds of products simultaneously. But hey, they know their limits, so if they can't develop both the QNX phones and the 10" PlayBook, working on the phones definitely is the smarter move.

with the specs they listed, I dont know how its a "Superphone".....i hope we see a rendering soon and its not a full touchscreen.

Something I have noticed over the years, although RIM has never had the greats specs they were able to bring out the most potential within their released devices which at times can be up-to-par with competitor devices. I'm sure thats something they can continue to live up to.

Single core 1.2Ghz, not dual core as previously rumored due to poor battery life is listed in the N4BB article.

It would have been nice if Bla1ze had listed that in this article. I expect that if you're going to use someone else as a source you should use all of their pertinent information in your article.

My apologies.

I didn't believe it was pertinent.. it's the same processor as the Bold 99xx and RIM has already been quoted as stating no dual-core for a while. It's basically known information -- nothing new.

As far as speaking about battery life, pretty obvious if you slap a dual-core processor on a phone the battery is gonna suck. Look at all the Android devices running dual-core -- look at the battery they used in the BlackBerry PlayBook for it's dual-core.

Not to mention, there is still plenty of time for battery optimization.. to speak of battery life, even as a rumor is redundant. Look at everyone who said the PlayBooks battery was gonna suck before release. My PlayBook battery does fine.

But it's not known info that QNX (on phones) would/could be single core i.e. the 1.2Ghz from the 9900. Lazaridis had said it would have to be dual-core. Or am I wrong?

The BlackBerry PlayBook before release ran on one core -- QNX can run on up to 36 cores if they wanted it to. Lazaridis basically said dual-core wasn't on their radar for many reasons, the most important being battery life -- not because QNX can't run on it.

"Mike confirmed the plans to bring QNX to BlackBerry smartphones, but also said that current multi-core processors aren't quite what they need to make this happen. “Battery life, size, weight, thickness, cost” are all factors here"

"but also said that current multi-core processors aren't quite what they need to make this happen. “Battery life, size, weight, thickness, cost” are all factors here, and until those are all up to par for what RIM has planned, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing QNX on our devices."

I took that to mean that, until multi-core processors are up to par with those standards, we wouldn't see QNX on the phones. Maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

I'm thinking it was just poorly worded. I think he means that dual-core processors are not yet efficient enough to be worth putting into the QNX devices, and that they originally didn't want to produce QNX phones until the processors stopped sucking battery life.

This could be a stretch, but it's the only way I can see QNX being possible for phones in the near future.

To me, none of it matters. It's reactionary at best. RIM cannot plan ahead in a way that makes customers, stockholders and bloggers happy anymore. They are slow, stale and unfortunately, too late. How could they NOT have known this fact about battery life a year ago, or more, during the development phase of the PlayBook? I don't buy that excuse. In my line of work, we 'check everything' *well* before launch of any product.....and we're large like RIM......with massive ramifications if we're wrong. So I get it....they don't. There is NO WAY they didn't know this and NO WAY I buy that a single core will run QNX as designed/intended...period. It will require a total rewrite and most of the features we're all excited for will not be able to be supported.

Mark my words.

This is going to end in disappointment.

Battery life with a dual core processor (as stated in the article) and that they're going to put a single core processor in the 'superphone' (the same processor the Bold 9900 has, by the way) and the same processor they said recently will NOT run QNX.

All companies are "reactionary at best", because they react to the marketplace. If this rumor is true, then RIM is making the adjustments to their product development that naysayers have been asking for. You may not be able to "buy that a single core will run QNX as designed/intended" but that doesn't mean it isn't able to do it. It also doesn't mean that as dual or quad core is developed to address the issues of weight, cost, performance, RIM will not add these in the development of Torch 3 or Bold 10000 or whatever devices are named.

OK, in my best movie voice..."In a world..." where the current crop of products are now dual core and soon, quad core, the average user will see the BlackBery as inferior....and will probably not even try it, even if it rocks, which hopefully it will.

In a turbo world, how do you sell economy?

Apple does an excellent job of not being 'reactionasy' and last time I checked, they sell a TON of phones.....and they only have the one model, really. Sure, 3GS and 4 exist, but my point is, one iPhone is current.

how do you expect to sell a phone with inferior processor power, smaller screen size, fewer apps and the news blasting RIM to hell, stock prices falling like a rock AND developers leaving en masse to build apps for platforms that work?

Again, perception is reality. The perception of RIm is too little, too late.

Worst part, I LOVE BlackBerry and this is so painful to type....but I am resisting the urge to be a fanboy and more of a realist....because at the end of the cay, I need to be realistic.

Apps matter, don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

RIM in the US will be a memory....they're rocking in third world markets.....and in a ay that's profitable, but if you look at the US/Canadian market, how do they really look?


That's right, Their profits come from phones/hand held devices. That should be their primary priority, and everything else should be secondary. Now lets see those QNX Blackberry's ahead of schedule if at all possible.

Lets get this somewhat derailed train back on track to making some huge profits and regain market share. RIM were market leaders once, lets prove to the world that we will be market leaders again ! ! !

Just so whoever posted this article for CB knows, the link you established to take users to the forums, the thread has been closed.

It looks to now be re-opened.

Thats a pretty smart shift that the company is doing, but also says to me they don't have the resources to do both diligently like other companies can?

I'm hoping that after everybody buys the 9900/9930 that they will be able to upgrade the OS to QNX. That would suck to be locked up for 2 years on a contract and QNX won't work on your device.

And that's why, I won't buy a new Berry till QNX hits handhelds.

Not that the 99xx series isn't a dream. I want one. But My 8520 didn't get 6 and now my 9780 won't get 7.

Buying the newest device does not seem to spell updte support so I'll just sit tight and keep my Bold as safe and operational as possile.

No, I don't expect to jump-ship while I wait. :p

The thing I've learnt from following BB for some time is that it doesn't usually pay to wait. The development/testing cycle for RIM appears to be astronomical. It seems that in the recent past there's been a 6-9 month lead in time from the first picture evidence new devices to release, and I can't see that introducing a whole new OS will make it quicker.

If you are using the 9780 then perhaps you should wait for RIM QNX phones. I'm still using the 8900 so I'm going to get the 9900.
If the new QNX phones come out without dual core, I'm not going to buy.

That's what my biggest fear is: that the generation of phones (like the 9900) before QNX won't be able to be upgraded.

I think I'll still get the 9900 though. If something better comes out in 2012, then I'll find some way to upgrade to it...that is, if it's substantially better than the 9900.

I'm really nervous about getting a new BB as well. I didn't do my research when I got the 8900 (I do love it though), I would have waited 6 months to get the much better 9700. So I don't plan on burning my self again. If the OS7 devices do support QNX, how well will they run it?

Well according to the article, the QNX phones are supposedly going to have single core 1.2Ghz which is the same processor that is coming on the Bold Touch so I would think it should be able to transition easily, but I am not an expert.

Yeah, that's what happened with a lot of 8900 users, especially when it was discovered that the 9700 was going to have 3G. I wish that RIM would disclose more information about the future of the QNX devices.

I'm hoping that they run the OS well, at least, better than how the 9700 runs OS 6. Hopefully the 1.2 GHz processor is enough to power the OS.

I'm a 8900 user. I love it but it's time for me to say good bye to my '2G' phone. RIM, I demand you to release the 99xx as soon as you can.

It would be nice (and possibly a smart thing to do) for RIM to offer buy backs on the OS7 phones when QNX arrives if the release dates are not far apart to help encourage people to buy the phones, which they need people to do to make it through the transition in good order.

A great analogy is what Apple does for iPhone matter where you are in the upgrade process, if you've surpassed a certain number of months of service they will subsidize the purchase of a new iPhone for the same price as a new activation, even if you are NOT eligible for an upgrade. That's d@mn smart.

That's the only way to combat that. That's the HUGE draw for Apple with the iPhone. Easy to get in to the system....

Who could argue the point that BBerry needs to focus on getting the next gen handsets out. However, wouldn't the 10" PB just be a hardware change ? The software and most of the hardware would be the same ? Am I missing something ?

What's more troubling is, I'm wondering if this isn't "code" for no release of any new PB models until OS7 devices are out which now looks like August/September ? What happened to the 4G version summer availability and the native email/PIM functions for the current PB devices ? Are these PB products now going to arrive in November ?

Are they that badly structured that everyone must work on one product at a time ? Clearly the investor community thinks so.

They mention in the article that they have shifted focus onto the new QNX phones, but have also shifted focus to getting the 4G Playbooks out by October.

The delay in releasing the 4G PlayBooks is a shame. I know it's not entirely RIM's fault, but it would have been nice to see them release during the summer. Tech stuff usually sells well during these months.

Especially with the upcoming back to school period. The back to school period and Christmas is when you want all your best products ready to go.

"but have also shifted focus to getting the 4G Playbooks out by October."

Where did you get this info from? I haven't seen anything about the 3G/4G Playbooks being delayed passed summer.

It states it in the article where this entire thing started on the N4BB site, click the link at the bottom of this article to go to N4BB's site.

I'm sorry, but a company that large shouldn't need to shift its focus, it should be able to do both concurrently. It speaks volumes that they cannot. It basically says they are not ready with the OS and the hardware and someone screwed up and no one caught it in time prior to the co-CEO's touting it can, but now have to retract that statement.

I agree with you, I don't see how it can take that much effort to make a 10" PB. Make the battery/ies a little bigger and you can probably make the PB a little thinner too. No need to change the actual hardware.

Well what *might* be going unsaid is that RIM intends to pull the focus away from the PlayBook PERIOD. Not just a new 10" product. I am getting a little worried about the PB. Great device, but with the delays in getting a 4G one out in the carriers' stores, high returns, and also constant schedule delays for apps, etc. I am starting to wonder if RIM's not losing its a$$ on the PB. But from what I read they are still committed to it. But that can change.

You should preface the headline with "RUMOUR".
The ? doesn't always read well. Really this is too tabloid style for me.

I agree with you even though I noticed the question mark. All tech bloggers seems to adopt this style of writing. Please forgive the author. There's not enough news to write about RIM lately. They've been awfully quiet.

I would have seriously considered a 10" PB. Should this admission that the PB has fallen down RIM's priority list worry current 7" PB owners?

Frankly, if I wanted a 10" tablet, I'll stay with my iPad.

The 7" and the 10" target two completely different consumers.

I got the 7" and love it. My wife (die hard apple fan/graphic designer) got one as well and she loves it. I'm not in the least worried about the 7" playbook. Everyone I've shown my blackberry playbook to and actually compared it to the others liked the playbook.
Blackberry's future is the QNX system. Though, I will get the Bold Touch or Torch 2 because in this fast changing world you will have new technologies coming out monthly and if you don't jump in you are always going to be waiting. It will be the best blackberry out and I'm getting it.

I think this is a good move on RIMM's part.

One of the weaknesss of the playbook is the battery life. From my personal experience the battery will only last 5 hours. This is a far cry from the advertised 8 hours of use.

I don't know what you are doing, but my Playbook life is a lot longer that 5 hours. I use it at work and for Bridging and for WiFi browsing and at the end of a busy day, I am down to 48%. You must be on it constantly?

It's about time they realize they're spread out too thin, and why is QNX phone plural, why do they make different models, pick one and go with it making it great, not 5 good phones.

Assuming they included 4g, there would need to be a wimax one, a cdma+lte model and a gsm+lte so it might be one form factor covering those models.

I'm not sure why you think QNX eats batteries. It's quite efficient. If you're going based on what you've seen with the PlayBook, you should know that the vast majority of the power consumed is just the screen and backlight, not anything QNX is doing.

Jeez just do something that makes sense, like release a QNX phone and get the current apps on our phones onto to that platform. At this point us diehards will be 50/50 split over buying a 9900 or waiting for a QNX phone, regular BB users just want the latest from BB.

Why is developing a 10" PB so hard to do? You did the first one, you have tonnes of great feedback from this forum and many others to improve upon. Up to now my PB still shuts off after 5 mins, why is that still being overlooked? jeez simple stuff like that needs to be corrected.

We are seeing leaks for phones that haven't even been released, this is getting tiring now....I love QNX on the PB, put it on the phone.....get all men on deck, get more resources if need be.

Of course I am speaking from a layman view :)

The most likely thing with the playbooks is that there are delays to the 3g/4g models and they don't think there is a market for a 10" model that is wifi-only so it gets pushed back until they get the 7" versions of those out the door.

Hallelujah!!!!! I love my Playbook and hope they keep working on the software, but I'm glad they are moving back to phones. Regardless if the 9900s are upgradeable to QNX, I'll be waiting outside the local AT&T/Best Buy store to buy one on the day it is available. Technology changes so quickly that you can't base your purchase on what future models might do.. heck, if that was the case, I wouldn't have purchased the Bold 9000 or the Playbook because there is always something better coming in the future.
On a side note, here are some things I hope RIM keeps in mind for future phone/playbook features:
1. HDMI support for phones
2. An SD slot for the Playbook
3. A flash for the rear camera on the Playbook
4. Better camera quality (both phones and rear camera in the Playbook)

I don't see how they can't just release a PlayBook mini. Divide the PlayBook into three equal parts (battery, motherboard, battery) Toss one of the batteries, then stack the motherboard on the remaining battery and call it a day. Yeah, you will end up with a phone that is slightly thicker but FFS, it's better than refreshing old BBOS phones.


I read all the comments and I have to say, if this is a true move for RIM, good move. The PlayBook laid the path now bring the phones right up that line.

It's about time that RIM woke up. A good QNX phone is what it will take to keep me loyal and singing BlackBerry praises. I have been using BlackBerrys exclusively since 2004 but RIM is falling seriously behind the competition and many of us are getting tired of the wait. RIM needs to confirm this quickly if it wants to keep us because I, for one, WILL NOT buy another BlackBerry until it has QNX even though my device is getting pretty old.

I think that I can speak for the majority of us when I say that instead of rehashing old designs and calling them new, all that is needed are (A) one new full QWERTY device and (B)one new device with a nice big true touchscreen.

Bong -- Bong -- Bong -- Bong ! Is that the death knell sounding for RIM and the Playbook? With each passing day, there is another "rumor" espousing the doom of RIM and reporting on how a**-backwards this company truly is. RIM's development plans? Hah :) You mean they actually have some! At this point, I'm not sure RIM could plan for 6:00 pm when its 5:30pm.

Alright, sarcasm aside (but it sure felt good), I am of two minds regarding this rumor. First, as an owner of a 64 gig 7" Playbook, my fear is that RIM will devote all of its limited resources to the new QNX phones and the Playbook will take a back seat only to find itself slipping into the dusts of time to be forgotten and ignored by RIM - a pattern that RIM has followed on with many of its previously released products. This was my biggest worry about the Playbook when I first bought it and it remains so. Second, as someone who finds the existing phone line woefully underpowered, antiquated, and obsolete, any move to bring QNX faster to the market has to be seen as a positive event.

Now, as for rumors - I want a rumor that says BB is abandoning OS 6.1 aka 6.2 aka 6.5 aka 7.0 and go straight to QNX. That would be a great rumor!

Want my opinion? No? Well, here it is anyway.

Stop making an OS. Build phones for webOS (which is what you think you have with QNX anyways) and work with HP - they need awesome phones, they're going after the Business market, work together with a superior OS (I said it) and destroy Apple/Google's chances at the business market. The consumer market for BlackBerry is dwindling.....and with a business-centric device and webOS, RIM can and SHOULD build phones for them.

That's a partnership that needs to happen.

Just because QNX uses the "cards" like webOS does not make QNX like webOS. It's like saying that two cars with the same color are the same car, stupid.

This would actually make sense. If RIMM indeed does end up getting acquired, MS or HP would be the best fit. I really don't see DELL picking them up. But you never know...

I don't know why everyone is crying for QNX phones. The QNX super phone is dual core but more importantly it is touch screen only. The phone is already being tested and will be ready for next year but most BB users won't even want it because of the lack of a hard keyboard.

I'm glad RIM is concentrating their pool of resources where they are needed the most right now. The phones are their highest priority.

Apple can develop a phone, tablet, iPod, laptop, iMac desktop, apple tv, run retail stores, icloud and who knows what else at the same time. RIM can't manage to develop a bloody tablet with a few phones??? Seriously WTF?

This is great news! What RIM needs to get more playbook users are apps. The samsung galaxy was a 7" POS. There is no relation between size and its sales numbers. Look at the Xoom sales figures, trying to be like Apple did not help Motorola. I predict the same will happen with the new Samsung 10 and Droid has the apps. Besides, the most common complaint against developing for Blackberry is dealing with all the different screen sizes. What RIM needs more than anything is a totally revamped phone. I was in Best Buy today and its hard to deny that the plethora of Droid phones do not make the BB devices look sad. There is even a 3D one now for crying out loud. RIM, I am willing to wait for my next phone, but I fear that if you take too long the majority of your users will jump ship.

Some of us, who came over long ago from the Palm Treo side, may be feeling some Deja Vu here. I've been thinking of grabbing a 9930 as soon as they come out, but thought for a minute about waiting for QNX to come out on the handhelds. Well, remembering how long it took Palm to do their new OS, I have decided to jump on the 9930 with os7 as soon as it appears. We have NO idea how long its going to take for QNX.

I am really happy to hear the rumor, that they are putting most of their efforts behind moving QNX to the phones. This absolutely needs to be done, and needs to be done right. I said, Deja Vu here.

Here's the thing, until RIM makes an official statement, everyone is gonna be arguing about rumors. None of us really know what it takes to run a company that big, and if they choose to prioritize their resources into making a superphone, then they must have big plans for that superphone. I for one hope that when they release more info on the QNX phone and eventually release this superphone, that it blows everyone out of the water.

Didn't they concentrate all their efforts on the PB as well about let's say a year ago? I am just as a big a fan but somethings just aren't adding up.

Designs and hardware can't be the issue....they all know what BB users love and want....So is QNX this big giant that everyone in the developing world is afraid of? Are the major vendors afraid to adopt the new OS?

It would be great marketing plan and turn around if the 99xx (and second generation 98xx) is able to support QNX. 99xx will sell like hot cake, especially for those BB addicts who play wait and see for QNX powered phone and just want to skip OS7.

C'mon RIM, you can do it!

Good, no need to waste time on a 10" Playbook, the 7" form factor is what makes it a playbbok special anyways. A Playbook is portable, everyday device. 10" is a slab you have to make a conscious effort to lug with you. If there is ever a "curve" equivalent of the playbook that's where the 10" model belongs.

Guess there's no reason to hold on to RIM anymore. I've been waiting for the 10" PlayBook and a QNX phone, and if I can't have it this summer... I need to go.

I can either jump ship before July 7th when Verizon changes their data plans, or I can wait until the 19th of July when my renew every two comes due (my last one since they phased that out) and get an Android phone then.

Just wish they could have reacted to what people have been saying... to be caught by surprise is not a legitimate excuse, the media was telling them as was Crackberry nation.

How can you tell development has stopped when it was never officially acknowledged that it was started in the first place ? Where do you get your information from ? You have stretched a very vague rumor into three paragraphs of non information.

If there is nothing worth saying about the PB for the time being, there is really no need to fill up your web site just for the sake of it.

I had not been here for a while and it came back to me why when I read this article.

Hallelujah!!!!! I love my Playbook and hope they keep working on the software, but I'm glad they are moving back to phones. Regardless if the 9900s are upgradeable to QNX, I'll be waiting outside the local AT&T/Best Buy store to buy one on the day it is available. Technology changes so quickly that you can't base your purchase on what future models might do.. heck, if that was the case, I wouldn't have purchased the Bold 9000 or the Playbook because there is always something better coming in the future.

On a side note, here are some things I hope RIM keeps in mind for future phone/playbook features:

1. HDMI support for phones
2. An SD slot for the Playbook
3. A flash for the rear camera on the Playbook
4. Better camera quality (both phones and rear camera in the Playbook)