Embattled smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion has announced that it is scrapping plans to offer
an OS update to its Playbook tablet, instead promising that the update would be released in February.
“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,” wrote David Smith, a senior vice-president for the PlayBook, in a RIM blog post announcing the delay.
“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.”
When RIM initially launched the Playbook it promised it would add email, calendar and contact applications to the tablet within 60 days. This deadline was pushed back to the summer, and then to late October. RIM also said the update will not include a Blackberry Messenger application.
Some analysts suspect that RIM may be having technical difficulties getting the Playbook’s QNX operating system – which shares a similar kernel to their new ‘BBX’ OS – to push data to RIM’s secure servers and data centers.
Charter Equity analyst Edward Snyder told Reuters that, “The PlayBook is RIM’s first experience with the QNX operating system it bought last year, and a lack of familiarity among RIM’s engineers and developers would have made sign-posting progress difficult.”
RIM gave no official reason for the delay.
The Playbook’s new OS, which the company hopes will be part makeover and part saving grace for the much maligned tablet, is scheduled to be released at the same time as Apple’s iPad 3 is expected.
Kerry Morrison, the CEO of Toronto-based application developer Endloop Studios, told the Globe and Mail that RIM’s failure to update the Playbook with Blackberry Messenger raises questions about its ability to “do BBX”.
“Sadly, this is about the nail in the coffin in my eyes,” he said.