RIM announced Tuesday that they will not be releasing PlayBook OS 2.0 until at least February 2012, when they will be “confident we have fully met the expectations of our developers, enterprise customers and end-users,” according to David Smith, SVP of BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM.
And what will they do to fully meet these expectations? First off, they are NOT going to include the BBM app in the next release of the OS. Wait, what? Apparently the BBM app isn’t ready for public consumption, so users of the PlayBook will just have to keep on using the BlackBerry Bridge for instant messaging.
Coming off the heels of dismal initial sales of the PlayBook and a recent BlackBerry outage, delaying the release of the new PlayBook OS with its native email and calendar apps (which were promised by the end of this past summer), this development isn’t sending a positive message about RIM or its future.
Can RIM survive any more missteps? Or is their bell finally tolling?
While I understand that it is good business practice not to release an update of an OS until it’s completely functional (unless you want to be like Google and label everything “beta”), pushing back this release until February when last month it seemed imminent is not going to go over well with users. It’s also a reflection of the company itself, which has had only bad PR in the past few months.
Rumors swirled last month that the manufacturing of the PlayBook had been halted. While RIM denied this, perhaps it’s something that they should consider. Scrapping the PlayBook with its limited functionality and small user base (I received two free ones this year; I gave one away and the other just sits since I don’t have a BlackBerry and can’t use it for the most basic of tasks—email) might be a good move for the company. They then could concentrate on their sweet spot—smartphones for the enterprise user—and gain back the market share that they’ve lost to iPhone and Android.
Unless they make a positive move soon, RIM’s future looks bleak indeed.