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Update on BlackBerry PlayBook Updates: Monthly software updates on hold in favor of a Tablet OS 2.0 Re-Launch?!

BlackBerry PlayBook 2 Relaunch
By Kevin Michaluk on 19 Aug 2011 03:00 pm EDT
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With all of the new BlackBerry Smartphone excitement this week (be sure to check out our reviews of the Bold 9900/9930 and Torch 9860/9850/9810), we forgot to note on the blogs the BlackBerry PlayBook's 120 day anniversary. Is it a milestone worthy of a joyous celebration? Not quite. Though the PlayBook is powerfully awesome and does have a ton of great things about it -- I spent an hour last night watching music videos on the new Vevo app -- we're still waiting for some MAJOR features to hit, like Native Email and the Android App Player. And while our BlackBerry PlayBook forums have been buzzing with users anxiously waiting for the next monthly-ish update in what we thought would be a "steady cadence" of updates, it's now looking like those shorter-term planned updates are on hold in favor of a much bigger PlayBook 2.0 re-launch.

With the development timeline of a lot of these separate PlayBook features lining up, it logically makes way more sense for RIM to put their time and energy into releasing one awesome update vs. a bunch of several smaller ones. At the same time, a BIG update will give all the tech reviewers and media outlets of the world a chance to take a second look at the PlayBook, which will hopefully result in much more positive reviews than the first batch and kickstart some new momentum on PlayBook sales. I know it sucks for us early adopters, but I get it.

So what are we looking at in the BlackBerry Tablet OS 2.0 re-launch? We've been hearing a bunch of things over the past few weeks from various sources on this one... Expect a native email client to be there, along with the Android App Player. We're thinking we'll get some news soon from RIM on the Android App Player front soon since they previously put out a statement that it would be available late this summer (I'll argue there's a difference between it being delayed and choosing to launch later). I'm **guessing** RIM will sort of keep their word here, but it's more likely it will be developers who soon get access so they can port and test their apps, while consumers will have to wait for the big update to be able to download and use them.

We're also expecting to see some UI changes with v2. We're hearing the current scrolling panels that are broken out in sections (All | Favorites | Media | Games | Bridge) will go away in favor of a more iOS-like panel, where users can create their own folders to group apps. Assuming that plays out, I think it's a smart move - especially if RIM wants the QNX SuperPhone OS to be a downsized/consistent version of the PlayBook's OS. It should be a great update, and I'll really be curious to see how some other things end up getting implemented.

We've heard previously that the native email client will be a standalone client and also that BBM will be tied to the PlayBook's PIN. So if you own a BlackBerry Smartphone and a BlackBerry PlayBook, you'll be juggling two contact lists vs. just one. Longer term it makes sense that users could have multiple BBM lists (multiple phones and tablets) tied back to the BlackBerry ID which controls all, but we're not sure that'll happen with this update. Remember, the QNX platform is still in its infancy, so RIM will be constantly working on it over the months and years ahead while at the same time making money from selling devices that run it. It's only going to evolve and get better as RIM gets all of their services working on it the way they want to. This is a massive technical transition for the company.

As for when this BIG update will happen, while I'd like to say soon I'm more so thinking the realistic goal at this point is BlackBerry DevCon (October 18th -20th). And it's RIM, who tends to be delayed. So if it the software isn't ready for consumer download by the event, I'd expect them to at least show it off there and hopefully we'll get it in the days and weeks that follow. But hey, my fingers are crossed and I'm hoping we get surprised and see it hit much sooner.

So there you have it PlayBook owners... an update rounding up what we've been hearing. I know a lot of you want these BIG updates NOW, as do I, but I personally think at this point a version 2 update makes way more sense than an incremental version 1 update. I'm sure we may see some maintenance releases, but the big excitement will come all at once. In the meantime, hopefully we'll see more great apps and games get announced like the Dead Space from EA. As always, keep it locked to CrackBerry and we'll do our best to keep you posted.

Reader comments

Update on BlackBerry PlayBook Updates: Monthly software updates on hold in favor of a Tablet OS 2.0 Re-Launch?!

103 Comments

Thanks Kevin, I must admit it wasn't going take much to convince me to follow through with my decision. I will be glad when they do drop the update with the native E-mail client.

Agreed. I love my playbook! The new EA game is incredible and shows off just how good the hardware is! There is nothing wrong with the OS, I like it. The new 2.0 will only improve what's already great!

I second that notion. PB HW is awesome - build with right form factor and very solid, very capable. the SW is "eh" - decent enough but not spectacular.

Wished that $100 off offer was in place when I bought mine though. thanks rim for rewarding your loyal customer. blech.

No not at all. It is totally worth it even before the update. I'm on that thing all the time. I'm abou to get the 9930 from Sprint and from what I read it is even better with a better phone. It's up to you if you want to wait but I have no regrets having got it already.

That's good to hear. I will be pairing it with the 9930 from Sprint also. I am expecting one AWESOME experience with the both of them. I am so hyped right now!!!!!

Posting second seems so lame LOL.

Anyhow, I hope THIS ONE is the "WOW!!" update that Kevin was telling us was/is coming.

Come on RIM, make me fall in love with my PlayBook all over again.

Can't we get BOTH several small make-me-believe-Im-gettin-new-stuff updates and also that BIG one later???

Lovin my PB! Wish my torch also had bezel features... :p

Neat. Let's hope they can spare a couple of devs and QAers to fix the bugs while they're at it. just minor stuff like browser crashes, gmail suddenly not working, this horrible horizontal stripe whenever i go into the OS update page, etc etc.

It better be available for the current Playbook. I bought it based on alot of promises and if they can't follow thru then they need to replace this one with the next one or buy it off me at full price. I love my Blackberry products but if it gets to the point that we end up investing into half baked products just to see a new model follow then.............well I don't know what i would do because all the other platforms suck.

I was unaware that there was an announcement on the release of the PlayBook 2...

How could a Tablet OS update not be compatible with the only tablet?

I can't wait to get my 9900 on August 31st, and pair it up with my Playbook. Come on T-Mobile. Thanks Blackberry for being the best!

So much for a summer release of Android app player this summer. Last time I check late October is considered fall. When will RIM understand that delays and waiting 3 months for a monthly update does not help with sales?

keep whining the ones of us who are actually going to buy it already brought.... be patient all you want... touchpad. or is it 'touche-pad'

For you information I own a playbook. So is it bad to hope a company lives up to its word. We are constantly told about this release and that release only to find out that it is delayed over and over again. How does that help any business gain the confidence of consumers?

+1 I wholeheartedly agree. We're all hoping that Playbook and 9930 and other products have a future. The only way they're going to ensure that is by sticking to their word.

At least they should come out there (hopefully a new face, I'm sick of their CEOs) and talk about the awesome features that are coming in September. If they did that I'd buy a Playbook today! Otherwise I'm not willing to spend hundreds of dollars for something that may go the way of the TouchPad. And that's especially true with some really nice iPad hardware coming out in a few months' time.

I agree about RIM to start giving some real deadlines and follow it, it develops more customer trust and satisfaction.
But regarding IPad, atleast I am happy that RIM is not making me get Play Book 2 or 3 to first get no cameras, then get some low level cameras and then with version 3 give you some 720 p recording cameras, and so on (talking about hardware).

I agree with you about the iPad. I have a love/hate relationship with Apple precisely for the reason you describe. But I already have a ton of apps on my iPad.

These apps could easily be replaced with the Android market--I did the hack on a Playbook I borrowed from work. It got me real excited about the prospects. But I just need more than rumors on Crackberry--as exciting as they are they are.

RIM has created a great device. But they keep overpromising on everything. And never meeting deadlines (or just not giving deadlines and keeping us waiting for half a year for their product). I want more. I wasn't worried about RIM after their last quarter. But HP just shook the market by "folding" (spinning off) their PC division and shutting down the WebOS units. That truly makes me worried now about the prospects of RIM. How will faith in RIM preside? We need results.

Nobody said Android player wasn't coming until October. I just saw a tweet today from a guy who had breakfast with his buddy at RIM that said Android Player is coming mid September.. So don't fret too much.. Kevin's post here is just speculation and he even said he thought RIM would keep their word about a Summer launch of Android Player..

And some people don't think that dinosaurs existed. First day of fall is Sept 23rd. That means 22 full days of September, or 73% of the month, are in fact "summer".

I guess all we can do is wait and see. With RIM's track record I don't expect to see anything until mid-october for android app player and maybe if we are lucky by December we will the new os.......

Correct. Talking software update here. To my knowledge, no hardware changes.  The PlayBook hardware really is powerful as it stands.

Agreed. This shows how much money we are saving as compared to IPad owners who have to shell thrice the price (to buy each version of iPad for getting the hardware which they should have got in Ver 1).

Great theory Kevin. I am sure no matter when the upadate is, large or small, not everyone will be happy. In the meantime, I love my PB as I have email, contacts, and calendar, can surf the net and use sites with flash, have twitter (blaq) and facebook and can read my epub library with the available ereaders. So I can easily wait for any update if an update ever does come.

Good stuff! Let's go RIM, don't keep us waiting tooooo long now.... everyone is beginning to get excited again

I love this strategy. Release 2.0 and relaunch right as the holiday season starts to kick into gear. This might be the best move RIM has made this year. RIM is finally turning into a mean machine!!!!

I agree that a 2.0 update would be really nice. I honestly think the playbook has be best hardware of all the tablets available right now. Whats missing is the software, the polish.
Downloading Dead Space now. I plan on using it to put doubters in their place.

If this pans out, it's great news. However I'd like to see some significant progress on the PB OS before two more months go by. That is a very long time to wait in the tech world, and I absolutely do not want the Playbook to get left in the dust of other platforms and gadgets racing ahead of it. Some kind of official announcement from RIM would help enormously. The silence is too deep and foreboding...I can just as easily imagine RIM announcing that they are giving up on the Playbook and our tablets entering technical limbo... No news equals FUD...

There is nothing there on which to base _any_ kind of expectation, good or bad...that's my point. There are rumours, source unspecified, and wishful thinking, as far as I can see. Why should we have any confidence in the Playbook's future when RIM won't say a single thing about plans, updates, roadmaps or anything else. Their silence is alienating a lot of people, and that is a fact. Everything else is just hot air.

So lied to by the dynamic duo again! We were told Summer for these features, now it MIGHT be October at DevCon (appropriately because apparently two Con Men are running the company) or later. Now we can't even expect our monthly update letdown?!? Oh well, Dead Space will hopefully be enough to get me to DevCon or maybe they'll get a couple more decent apps out by then. RIM, this 2.0 better be the most awesome update of any device ever and it better come with a healthy dose of wanted apps (NETFLIX, Skype, Kindle, GPS, etc!!!).

Also don't want the UI to become more "iOS" like. If I wanted iOS I would have bought an iPad. The UI is one of the big things that got me to buy this device because it is fresh and the best out there. I like the Category separators just want the ability to add/remove/customize them. At least this is the first device that RIM ever launched where they put out hardware good enough to go six months and still be relevant. Rant from a frustrated Playbook early adopter over.

Agreed....I foolishly thought "this summer" meant mid-July. RIM, you have 2 weeks to make this happen.
Oh, and I think the playbook is do for a $50 price cut.

I hope this predicted date area of mid. to late Oct. doesn't go any longer. The PlayBook and Rim could use the boost of Christmas sales. Which will be missed if they can't get something major out by then. Lets face it you and I both know its good and will get better, but it does us all good if sales could rocket. Christmas is a good time for that to happen, lets not miss it RIM.

that sucks! good thing my mind is diverted to getting the 9900 on t-mobile, well just have to play dead space for now

Im thinking too 2.0 OS might also include a version of MS Office that RIM has been "hinting" at thanks to their BB Opinions survey earlier this summer. I'm thinking RIM keeps Docs to Go as free premium version as it is now for consumers, but also includes some form of MS Office that owners can either purchase/upgrade similar to how MS does it with new PC's by preloading it or subscribe to like Office 365. It kinda makes sense to me: Docs To Go targeted to consumers who don't need all the power of a full blown office suite on their tablet and MS Office for the power/business users...gives users choice as well as allowing RIM to market it with OS 2.0 further showing off the power and capabilities of this tablet and differentiating it in the market.

Honestly if MS Office is added in, I'd be jumping for joy.

Hoping Office OneNote comes here, since Evernote doesn't look like they will make an application for the playbook regardless of the NDK being release.

WOW...so the next update will be in October. With a life of 1-2 years for a device like playbook this couldn't get any worse....and come October, we will hear its delayed till Christmas....
Really mind boggling how a company like RIM can go down the drain so fast.

And I was just about to dump mine on ebay... Am I biased or does it appear RIM is slowly getting its ducks in a row? Let's see what 2012 brings.

Great, so they're most likely not going to release OS 2.0 before there Q3 results.

Happy with the hardware and all, and loving my playbook and the 9900. But I was hoping they'd put that new OS 2.0 in and shut those WSJ reporters up.

I don't know. Don't think ppl are going to be too happy about having to wait THAT long. I understand it might make more sense from a marketing perspective to do it all in one go, but it's really punishing the early adopters. You see Dead Space and you know there's lots of power in the device, and it's sad that it's being wasted when it's capable of such much more.

im very happy with how my pb is running so im in no rush for n update this exact moment. the multiple bbm list is something im not looking forward to at all if it comes to pass. i personally like the 'tray' system the pb and os6/7 have. maybe make the trays more like os7 than os6. i also hope they let you use apps while not connected to wifi, i dont see why they cant work like bridge browser.

This thing is dead. Who cares when the update comes....oh rimbots care, youcould write bb on a box and they would but it. Don't worry the updates are coming.

Sad it is delayed but hopefully it will at all the improvements that I need. The PlayBook is great and if they fix a few areas it could a rock solid OS.

My 32 does everything I wanted/expected it to do when I bought it and it does it in tandem with my Torch 9800. When OS2 gets here, I'll be glad to see it happen. I'm not throwing myself off a bridge because I won't get another update until maybe October.

Bought the PB based on what it could do at time of purchase along with the promise of updates to follow to fix shortcomings. I am due for an upgrade, contract up, and have new every 2 with Verizon and want the 9930. Not jumping into it until I see if RIM starts delivering promised updates. Does anyone know if someone from RIM reads these comments or cares about what a small number of users have to say?

2 bbm accounts = fail i do not want people having 2 of me on their contact lists. I'm quite alright with it the way it is.

It might not be good for you, but for the people who don't have a BB and want a tablet, its great for them.

I don't think this is how it's going to work... RIM has already intended to move BBM more towards BBID and away from PINs, therefore you'll probably tie it to your BBID and it will be the same account on 2 diff devices.

This whole things sounds like a smart move. Although I'll be with most of you wanting these updates sooner than later, I like to see RIM being smart business-wise with this relaunch idea.

All of this is very exciting and I am not going to complain about RIM, but someone (Us, maybe) needs to push the business software vendors to get more serious software on this thing. I spend too much time explaining away the "Play" in Playbook, when the TV Commercials almost all make it look like a toy, and a visit to App World contains page after page of Games, and business software missing.

Thanks to the companies that are actively supporting it, but I need things from Citrix (Xen Receiver, GoToAssist Agent, GoToMeeting), Microsoft (Silverlight support for the InTune admin console) and too many others to name here.

Anyone else looking for these things, or is everyone else happy with the "Play" book?
I bought my 32GB early, and am trying to convince people it is the right tablet for secure environments, Lawyers, Doctors and CPAs to name a few.

GETTING A BIT p**SED OF WITH THIS NOW, Rim anounce new phones but not every one can upgrade to the new ones, but seems like customers who have invested in things like a Playbook seem to be at the back of the cue regards any development. Or is that Crackberry decide not to tell us.. Really thinking of getting rid of my Torch, Bold and playbook as they are so behind the rest of the mobile market. I read about augmented os etc but android and apple already have it and guesss what if i want it i need to buy a new bb. thats crap

Guess I'm in the minority. I would rather they keep the interim updates and show what is being added with each version rather than a complete reboot, but keep to a schedule. This lays out too many unknowns which people reviewing this will not like...will it support 1.0 applications? Will bridge change? Will it actually have an ndk? what will be added and knowing rim, what will they remove?

Oh Goddd... plz not an iOS like interface... if we wanted that we'd just buy an iPad.
I think that RIM should keep the "tabs" on their OS. if they really wanna make some change to allow ppl to customize it just let us choose what to name the tabs instead of ALL, ...

i totally agree with you Kevin! I've had my playbook for around 2 months now and for me, it's the tablet that just does the job for me. and i do hope the new OS update will bring the native email & PIM apps for the playbook, once it has those, WATCH OUT, WATCH OUT iPAD & ANDROID TABS!!!

QNX rocks!!

I hope it actually launches with a carrier and mobile data connection soon. I want one but that is one of the main things holding me back. Aside from email, contacts, and calendar...but I'm sure you could have guessed that.

Not going to judge on rumor... rumors got me into this Playbook mistake in the first place.

What is clear that the post layoff juice is going into the phone vertical and the Playbook, from the user perspective, is back burnered. 120 days in and no meaningful updates and no meaningful applications.

PERIOD.

Buying time by saying it'll be even better later will fool the Whacky Cracky RIMjobbers but merely lead to the enterprise market to wait even longer to purchase--or more likely, NOT--thus continuing to marginalize the device and increasing its vulnerability.

Not providing updates for another two months is a loser move, any way you spin it, so lets hope this is false.

Among many other disappointments, that would mean the Files & Folders application, that I PURCHASED to manage my files and folders--ya know, that totally basic thing that you need with a computational machine that did NOT come with this $700 device--will continue NOT to update or even be deletable (!!!) since the last "update" rendered it that way and RIM's only answer is to do a security wipe or else to wait until the next update, which will supposedly fix it.

As for anyone who says "watch out iPad"... Yeah, I'm sure they're losing sleep over being the highest market capitalized company in the world while RIM is laying off staff, ending their ad campaign, being blown off by the likes of Sprint and announcing they need two months for a super update for what was supposed to be a flagship launch.

Reminds me of Obama caving in to the Republicans on the debt deal, punting ahead to a quasi-constitutional "Super Committee" to make draconian cuts to spending when the opposite is needed, getting a ratings downgrade, and then booking off to vacation promising a major "jobs" announcement after Labor Day while the markets tank and Syria and Libya devolve into crisis.

Too little too late much?

There's clueless, there's leaderless, and then there's CLUELESS & LEADERLESS.

well, I was set to buy a playbook. well saving for one - was probably going to hold out for a price drop. Until the HP Touchpad just lowered the price to $99 immediately. Bought that, if nothing else than for a fun toy around the house, and worse case, give it to the kids for car rides to watch movies, etc.
Anyway, still eagerly awaiting this mighty update from RIM, but not holding my breath. By the time it's ready, Playbook v.2 should be around the corner. ;)

I kinda chuckled at this. Typical RIM.... more delays. "You'll have PIM apps in 90 days.... just kidding" "Monthly updates.... just kidding"

I love my PlayBook, and really am caring less and less about PIM apps... just find it a little funny.

Good evening everybody! This is my first post here. I love my Playbook, it is a fantastic piece of hardware, it comes equiped with powerful components, double ram than the Ipad2 and a OMAP44X processor that has enough stamina for making of this one a dream machine. My actual concern isn't about apps PIM and others.... they surely wlll appear in geometric progressions, the main problem is about memory managent, web explorer crashes frequently apps disappear from display without further notice and after some time of use the tablet gets slow.... incredible behaviour for a tablet with such processor and ram. Don't get blind with the apps issue, memory managent should be 1A prority!

Glad to know Im not the only ones PB suddently closes the browser, or wont open an item via Bridge...still an awesome device I just need spellcheck and gotomypc

I've been following the Playbook saga since Day One and would really like to own one. I need something like it for business rather than entertainment. But as a Storm 1 owner since launch, I've had my fingers burned. It works fine now, but has taken two and a half years to get here, after a screen replacement convinced me that the original was faulty out of the box.

I've read all the postings from people who are very happy with their PB, and by all accounts it is a solid piece of hardware with enormous potential. But I'm waiting until it actually does all the things it is said to be capable of. While I may have confidence in the product long-term, the general market doesn't care, and RIM needs to get its marketing into gear if it wants the PB to succeed big-time. In a crowded emerging market, brands only get one chance to shine. Promises of shining later are not enough to sway buyers. In my view, RIM blew their first chance, sending out pre-production samples of the PB to reviewers and with the device lacking key features which the public expected, even though in theory they may not be necessary, such as native email and an SD card slot. Reviews were based on these samples, the product launches, then a few days later important OS updates come out which significantly improve it. Too late FFS! RIM may be engineering geniuses, but when it comes to marketing Apple knock them into a cocked hat.

So I'm biding my time, and I will buy Playbook 2 when I feel that instead of having to apologetically defend my choice when friends with iPads and Samsung Galaxies see it in my hands, they say "ooh, a Blackberrry Playbook, wow, can I try it out?" That will tell me that at long last, RIM has got it right.

This is my first tablet, and with that I expect to be one of those guys who gets the new tablet every year. If RIM doesn't hurry up and do something I'll end up with an Android or iOS product next year which may lead to swapping phone brands too. And all my smart phones for the last seven years have been blackberry. I even got my wife and daughter a blackberry for BBM. Yet all we do anymore is text each other.

You're losing me RIM.

I love my playbook. I downloaded EA's Dead Space last night and really got into playinig it. I haven't played any games in a while and I quickly got addicted, grin. Cool Game.

I have found that even though the stuff that is coming in 2.0 is currently missing. I see it as additional functionality. My Playbook functions flawlessly at what it currently does, taking pictures, videos, blackberry bridge for emails, web browsing, email on Yahoo, gmail. Some games for my kids. Showing off pictures, hell the list goes on and on.

Simply Stated my playbook rocks. and the music is stellar.

Things I would like to see added
A trackpad area to simulate a mouse or something, a more compact keyboard with shift and function key functionality. Master USB mode to attach more storage too. A command line, grin not sure why, I just love a command line and the ability to have that functionality, grin.
The ability to use the keyboard and trackpad from my blackberry phone. That would keep the screen nice and clean when typing. Just some thoughts.

BLACKBERRY ROCKS!!!

WTH? I am really sorry I bought this playbook. It's a piece of useless junk! No native email, no calendar, address book, skype, netflix, yahoo messenger and all the most common apps. I was hoping that all these would come very soon aftet PB's launch.

This is why RIM is going downhill. Basic, simple and common apps not in PB, pathetic.

I am getting rid of this PB and getting an Ipad (even the 1st generation Ipad is far better than this stupid PB)

I still say that he current playbook is less of a tablet and more of a developers platform for the forth coming phone. It makes sense if the phone and playbook OS's are more compatible, basically being BB's version of android's ice-cream sandwich: apps that fit multiple screen sizes and devices. Even (glup) Apple has failed to truly merge the phone and tablet, let alone PC and TV. It's all about convergence!