UPDATE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled/relaunched and product manager moves to Samsung

UPDATE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled/relaunched and product manager moves to Samsung

Summary: It seems people are having issues competing with the iPad and it doesn't help that buggy firmware updates are released and an executive in charge of of the product leaves either.

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I bought a BlackBerry PlayBook back in April when they launched and since then we have seen at least one update a month. There was a 1.07 update (July update) that went live early on Tuesday morning, but CrackBerry.com reported that it has been pulled back down and is no longer available. We also heard that the PlayBook senior product manager left for Samsung and it seems to be a frustrating time for PlayBook owners.

I did not bring my PlayBook with me today so I could not update it and when I arrived home my device showed that no updates were available. I understand that people who did perform the update had problems with the BlackBerry Bridge functionality, but since I just sent back the evaluation BlackBerry smartphone I would not have noticed this anyway.

RIM really needs to deliver the stand alone PIM apps and Android support soon or I may be giving up on my PlayBook too. I like the form factor, the web browser is awesome, the Kobo eReader is decent, and there is lots of potential with the device. However, something can have all the potential in the world and still fail without direction or continued support.

It is not very comforting when the BlackBerry Senior Product Manager leaves to take a position as the Director of Product Marketing at Samsung Mobile either. I don't know if Mr. Bidan was the company champion of the PlayBook and drove things or if he was a reason for delays in getting the PIM apps out, but the message coming from RIM is not that encouraging.

Now that HP is delivering on some of its upgrade promises (Kindle app and Media Store launches) I may have to reconsider the HP TouchPad instead of the PlayBook or just forget both and stick with my iPad and HTC Flyer. Does the news of the pulled software update and executive departure discourage your PlayBook plans?

UPDATE: So today when I returned home I tried getting my PlayBook updated again. Thankfully, the update is back and you can now update your PlayBook to version 1.0.7.2670. The update is a whopping 356MB and there doesn't appear to be many noticeable changes. I understand people on AT&T who have a BlackBerrry smartphone are seeing some improvements in performance, but unfortunately, this is NOT the update that gives you stand alone email, PIM, or Android apps. Given RIM's monthly updates I guess we will have to wait until August to see if this gives us things they should have launched with back in April.

Topics: Security, Mobility, BlackBerry, Samsung

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  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

    It's too bad... as far as quality of construction, form factor, and overall "sex appeal" of the device itself AND the interface logic, I actually like the Playbook more than any of the others. Unfortunately, with a half baked release, clouds of uncertainty, the potential of a high resolution iPad somewhere on the horizon, and the fact that I don't *need* a tablet (does anyone?), I'm willing to just wait for that instead.
    Playdrv4me
    • What is need?

      @Playdrv4me
      Does anyone "need" anything but food, shelter and clothes? By that logic, why buy anything?
      dhmccoy
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

        @dhmccoy <br><br>This is, after aall, the 21st Century - unless you are a hunter/gatherer living in a cave and wearing skins, you do "need" whatever tools let you make a living to BUY food, shelter, and clothes, yes? <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
        Biotechguy
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

        @dhmccoy
        +1
        Ram U
      • He is willing to wait for a better product ...

        @dhmccoy ... from RIM or whomever. You don't have to.

        I agree with him though. I bought an iPad on a whim and I am disappointed in the Apple iPad ...

        1) It cannot replace my browser because it is not fully compatible with the sites I use.
        2) It cannot replace my e-mail client because it lacks the capabilities of Outlook/Exchange.
        3) It cannot replace my laptop because it still requires a computer for sync.
        4) It cannot replace my Kindle because the screen is unreadable in daylight.
        5) It weighs too much.

        In the end, if I am going to lay down $500+ I want the device I buy to replace at least some of the myriad of devices I depend upon for work and pleasure.
        M Wagner
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

        @mwagner

        Pro tip.... Turn the brightness to max and it is great for reading. Been using it to study textbooks, powerpoints and journal articles all summer outside or in. The only requirement is that I need to up the brightness outside. Basically, the only thing that isn't great in broad daylight is some videos (dark ones).

        As far as email, it will synch up fine with outlook/exchange accounts and there are apps that make multi e-mails and attachments a breeze. I do wish they had it in the stock email app though. I guess it will be in ios 5.

        I'm not sure what websites you use, but I have found few which don't work well. With the exception of the playbook, flash applets blow on tablets anyway (there are like six "porn tubes" that fully support the ipad btw if that is what you miss). I have a 7" galaxy tab as well, but that has been relegated to a car audio/gps unit since I heavily favor my ipad for everything else. I am an avid android user for phones btw so not an apple fanboi, the ipad is simply a superior product.

        The newest ipad is very light actually. Maximum reading comfort is achieved one handed with portrait view and removal of the magnetic case btw... Another tip.
        Eman101
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

        @Biotechguy Actually no, you would need to learn to be a hunter/gatherer and move where you survive on those skills ;-)
        non-biased
      • RE: He is willing to wait for a better product ...

        mwagner@...

        1) It cannot replace my browser because it is not fully compatible with the sites I use.

        - What sites do you use that still rely on Flash?

        2) It cannot replace my e-mail client because it lacks the capabilities of Outlook/Exchange.

        - What capabilities are you refering to?

        3) It cannot replace my laptop because it still requires a computer for sync.

        - True, but not for long.

        4) It cannot replace my Kindle because the screen is unreadable in daylight.

        - Yeah, but the Kindle screen is unreadable in the dark. (I have one of each, and Wispersync is great.)

        5) It weighs too much.

        - What would be an acceptable weight?
        rynning
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

      @Playdrv4me I agree with the uncertainty and the delay part completely. i think they are in a big transiton phase. if you need to wait, please wait for win 8 in my opinion. ipad is very limited to windows. they have wind in their sales. but it will not last forever. new players are learning fast.
      augustus_rome
      • More than that ...

        @augustus_rome ... Steve Jobs could sell refrigerators to Eskimos! A post-Jobs Apple may not be so successful at selling premium products to well-heeled customers who are becoming more sophisticated in their wants by the day.
        M Wagner
      • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

        @augustus_rome Oh please define "learning fast" in this context. The iPhone was announced in January 2007, that's FOUR AND A HALF YEARS AGO! Everything these "new players" needed to know about mobile devices was shown them on that stage by Apple that day.

        Fast? FFS there are children alive today who weren't even in school when the iPhone was announced, who are writing apps for iOS! That's how far behind these clowns are.

        But the more the merrier I say. None of them will even sell enough inventory to recoup their development costs. With something like 4 different operating systems, a myriad of form factors supposedly intended to create differentiation, legacy spec due to a lack of buying power, all they are ever capable of doing is dilute their own market.

        And that's without even mentioning the gigantic land snail that is MS. Trying to deliver a slate with a full version of Windows will of course fail, and finally force Ballmer to retire.
        Graham Ellison
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

      @Playdrv4me
      I got my 1.0.7 update and it works fine. Pinch to zoom on Video playback. Overall I love this thing. I have an iPad also but end up using the Playbook more. Honestly I think this is all FUD. People are getting sucked into Group Think. If you own a Blackberry, this is a better choice in my opinion. If you do not own a blackberry get an Android tablet or an iPad.
      sharkboyjohn
    • Rooted

      @Playdrv4me Can the unit be rooted?...If so maybe it can find a new life as a rooted android tablet?Like the Nook Color
      jacjar1
  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

    Well said.
    prdmarican
  • ???

    @Johnny Vegas

    Sure. Look at how great the previous Windows tablets were. Why is it always "the next version"?
    dhmccoy
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

      @dhmccoy LOL The same thought entered my mind. If I had a dollar for every time I've heard that the next Windows tablet will be the one that gets it right... Too heavy, short battery life, use-your-finger-as-a-mouse functionality, and the real killer - FAR too expensive... Yeah, pay $2500 for a tablet that doesn't quite work right just so you can run the "real" version of Office on it.
      BillDem
    • Previous Windows tablets ...

      @dhmccoy ... tried to be "all things to all people". This made them way too expensive. The market has demonstrated that $500 is the magic number for these kinds of devices (at least for now). Whether MS can deliver with Windows 8 remains to be seen.
      M Wagner
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

      @dhmccoy

      The competitors actually need to learn from apple and start cutting their features down to bare bones. Six different ports, extra ram that never really gets used, a purpose defeating removable battery and the ability to run six videos simultaneously (that you can't see more than one of anyway) all sum up to inferior battery life, bulk,
      unpredictable performance and increased costs...

      I have never understood the "four hours is ok because I can carry six batteries" crowd. Making the battery removable limits the thickness of the device, the configuration of the battery internally and the case materials. Manufacturers must sacrifice a ton of efficiency and size to make that battery removable.
      Eman101
    • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

      @dhmccoy
      What next version? I've been using a Windows XP Pro Tablet for over FIVE YEARS. Dynamite. The complete operating system. Full computer. Everything. Todo. Full package. Nothing left out. And yes, I'm still using it right now. How else can I say it?
      iPad is such a loser for saps who'll believe anything. They're junk and a waste of money.
      Fritzpk
  • RE: BlackBerry PlayBook woes; update pulled and product manager moves to Samsung

    @Johnny Vegas
    Well said
    augustus_rome