Official Research In Motion update on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: Delayed until February 2012; No native BBM

Sad PlayBook :(
By Kevin Michaluk on 25 Oct 2011 06:35 pm EDT
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An update was just posted to the official Inside BlackBerry blog with some sad news on the status of PlayBook OS 2.0 for the BlackBerry PlayBook. While a stripped-down developer beta version of PlayBook OS 2.0 is already available, it's now going to be February before PlayBook owners should expect to see it available for download. Also sad news here is that BBM on 2.0 will only be available via BlackBerry Bridge to those who also own a BlackBerry Smarpthone (more on that below). Here's the full update from David Smith, Sr. VP on the BlackBerry PlayBook team:

We know that many of you are looking forward to BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, and we wanted to provide you with an update on the progress that we're making.

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. And here's what we're doing to accomplish that.

First off, 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.

Secondly, we are excited to now be providing developers with the gold release of the native SDK for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet as well as a beta of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 (launched last week at BlackBerry DevCon Americas). The developer beta allows developers to begin porting their native apps to the PlayBook platform. In the following months, the developer kit will be updated with the full Cascades animation and UI engine that was first demonstrated at BlackBerry DevCon. We expect that the developer beta will generate thousands of new applications for BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.

Shortly we will also be starting a series of closed betas of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 with select enterprise customers from our Early Adopter Program (EAP). These betas will be rolled out over the course of this year and are an important next step to bringing our unmatched enterprise app deployment, device manageability, security and email integration capabilities to the tablet category. The betas will be conducted within global enterprise environments and will test the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet solution from end-to-end within corporate IT infrastructures. Feedback and improvements from these betas will benefit the overall BlackBerry PlayBook customer experience.

We believe BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will deliver a great experience for our customers, building on the powerful performance introduced with BlackBerry PlayBook tablet earlier this year. The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

For the enterprise, we're addressing many barriers to tablet adoption, including device manageability and enterprise application deployment. Enterprises will uniquely have the ability to manage tablets from a centralized server, while BlackBerry Balance ensures a seamless user experience for personal and professional needs and gives CIOs the peace of mind that corporate data is secure. Plus BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will provide dedicated shelf space inside the BlackBerry App World storefront to make approved enterprise applications easily available to an organization's end users. Together these features will help change the way enterprises view and use tablets.

So when could an end user get the new update? 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.

- David J. Smith, SVP, BlackBerry PlayBook, Research In Motion

Between PlayBook OS 2.0, BBX and BBX phones, the vision of what RIM / BlackBerry is working toward is pretty clear, and I truly feel it's a compelling vision and RIM is making all the right moves. The BIG thing for RIM right now is execution of that vision, and updates like this show that RIM is just not quite as far a long in this technical transition as we have been hoping. We knew that was the case based on DevCon announcements (or lack thereof) last week, and this reaffirms that.

On the BlackBerry Messenger front, we've talked on many occassions now about this being a challenge for RIM. The ultimate goal is for the BlackBerry ID (BBID) to be the single user identity on RIM's systems, with a single BBID being able to map to multiple devices. So if I own a BlackBerry Smartphone and a BlackBerry tablet, I could have BBM on both devices but they would be identical - same contact list and everything would be mapped and mirrrored back through the BBID. Currently the way the platform is designed, you have an active contact list per active device pin. We knew this would be a big hurdle for RIM to overcome, and it's obvious it's taking some time. I do think leaving BBM off until this is fixed is the right decision. It would be weird to have a BlackBerry phone and tablet and have to manage to separate BBM contact lists.

My hope in all of this is that the release of PlayBook OS 2.0 will correspond with the release of the first BBX phone. Knowing that the BBM issue won't really apply to phones (that's where native BBM will live), I'm hoping this points to a February/March release. The Consumer Electronics Show is in January 2012 in Las Vegas. I'd love to see a BBX Phone get displayed there, and it follow up with availability the next month. Thumbs are crossed!

Reader comments

Official Research In Motion update on BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: Delayed until February 2012; No native BBM

521 Comments

Just over the weekend I visited my "old" Verizon store (I moved to a different State) where I signed up my 2 year contract which comes due soon. I asked how many Blackberry's they have sold in the last month. My answer? NONE! Not only that but the dedicated section that displayed Blackberry phones was gone. Two blackberry phones were being displayed among various other phones.

I bought two Playbooks - one for me and my wife. She wanted the Samsung Galaxy 8.9 inch, but I steered her away. Christmas is coming around the corner and I assured her the OS 2.0 update would be out by then. She doesn't have a Blackberry phone so she needed the native email, and calendar, etc. I seriously doubt with this announcement they will sell many Playbooks for the Christmas season seeing how research showed the major obstacle to sells was not having native communication apps.

Feeling confident that OS 2.0 was going to happen in 2011 I felt keeping the same platform in the family would be best. I use a Blackberry and the bridge apps compensate for the lack of native apps, but there is no way I intend to buy a Blackberry phone for my wife to compensate for the lack of native applications.

I know people get angry expressing their honest opinions which have been negative, but I should have listened.

I might have to pony up more cash to buy her a more appropriate tablet for her needs.

Honestly, I really wasn't gonna hold my breath for this year. I really don't think 3-4 months is gonna kill anybody. Maybe they'll give everybody another free game preferably Tomb Raider or that Samurai one that just came out.

3-4 months?

Guess you never had an airline tell you that the flight is 25 minutes delayed, in order to avoid the stampede and riot that would occur if they admitted it would be two hours?

RIM has way too much to deal with right now, especially in the wake of large layoffs that torch a company's spirit to say nothing of their internal processes and bandwidth, to cover half their bets let alone all of them.

The summer launch became October, which is now February.

If they don't abandon the PlayBook first to try to save their phones, the functionality we paid for expected won't be available until April or May and perhaps even June. By then Kindle Fire and other new devices will have sewn up the market.

No enterprise client in their right mind is investing in this mess and gamer & application minded consumers are sold en masse to the Church Of Jobs.

PlayBook is a tiny niche object for Blackberry loyalists, who are now seeing the forest for the trees and researching their options for their next phone and tablet purchases.

PlayBook is doomed unless there is an acquisition by a patient and visionary firm.

At this point I have to wonder if they are going to get 1 million sell through on PlayBooks this year. The excess inventory is hurting their quarterly reports. My guess is that their projections for the next quarters was partially on clearing inventory and actually making some profits on PlayBook sales.

If the coCEOs miss the next couple quarters targets, based upon their guidance, then they are dead meat. I seriously doubt anyone will vote to renew them. This is poor management on a massive scale.

BlackBerry hardware is great, easily the best ergonomics and construction of smartphones on the market. Where they are behind is in software. As some other comments indicate, the Amazon Kindle FIre is likely to gain huge ground on the PlayBook. How much is 8GB more memory and two camera modules worth? My guess is $50 more. Even then I think the PlayBook is a tough sell, as proven so far by the extremely poor numbers. They were way too early trying to get into the tablet market.

Sigh. I have been a hardcore RIM fan for many years, but the constant string of playbook disappointments is getting old.

They are releasing it in February 2012 to line up with the release of the BBX superphones!!!

Just my guess...but it's a pretty good one, ya??

Also, I don't own a Playbook. Just a huge RIM fan =)

I am really becoming disappointed with RIM. I am a die hard blackberry fan, in a company that just rolled out about 7,000 ipod touch devices for clinical use. I have been trying to keep blackberry as our smart phone standard, but with the lack of progress in the new OS, and the almost guaranteed delay in releasing the new BBX phones, I no longer can support RIM as our smart phone vendor. It looks like the company will be going iPhone..... :(

EXACTLY why I sold my Playbook back in August and got an iPad. The difference in apps alone doesnt compare.

RIM may as well give up.

this should not be a shock to any of us who have been dealing with rim recently. I do not expect 2.0 by February and I do not expect a BBX phone til 3rd qt 2012 the earliest.... probably 1st qt 2013

This is Rim we are talking about people.

I have been one of RIM's biggest critics lately and own two PlayBooks that will be affected by the delay but I must say that this revelation is ENCOURAGING that RIM is starting to get a clue. I appreciate how they haven't laid out all the features and haven't set a new date in stone. It is very tough to predict complex OS software dates and RIM/QNX seems FINALLY to get this. Apple doesn't advertise to its competitors the features/functions of the next release until the new devices are already in the pipeline.

Frankly OS2 in its current state was going to impress nobody... that is clear from the developer preview. I could care a less about Android support and I care even less about a dedicated email client that isn't FULLY interchangeable with my handheld... anything else is a recipe for customer support hell. Of course, I knew what I wanted from my PlayBooks when I got them and have been generally happy with them EXCEPT FOR AUTOCORRECT/SPELLCHECK the lack of which I believe was a VERY serious error on QNX's part. It is clear that they never used a BlackBerry before letting that device go out without it.

I hope RIM uses this extra time to make the PlayBook more productive and to port a few key apps to the platform like Skype, Netflix, Kindle and put in the missing functions such as Bluetooth, USB host, DLNA that will make his tablet competitive. I can wait... but they'd better get it right because their competitors are not standing still.

dear grandpa, mom, dad, and friends i lied when you asked me if there is a simpler way to check your email than using the webmail interface with the playbook. i told you the new upgrade would come in november the latest and it will allow you to check your emails without typing in the username and password everytime. well, this not going to happen and you all have to wait a 'little' longer. meanwhile please keep watching the turtle video. well at least you only paid $300 for it.

Goodbye, Rim.

I've wipe out my Playbook and put it in storage. I've waited long enough for promises unfulfilled. When February 2012 comes, and if indeed, you pull through this time, instead of just promissing missed deadlines, I'll be glad to use PB again.

Maybe February 2011 will really be the month when RIM finally delivers a fully functioning tablet.

I'm not abandoning you completely, though, my Bold is still the smartphone I prefer.

(signed) Not a lemming.

Hi i really want to buy the playbook like now! especially since the sale is so awesome! but i'm wondering if i should wait for the new OS v2 to come out. would it make a difference? or would it jus b something to download and not an actually difference to the speed or function of the playbook. please respond quickly to me someone ^_^ THX!

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