RIM delays Playbook software update

Canadian phonemaker postpones software upgrade of its tablet to next February, leading one analyst to say delay "not a good sign" and device has no future.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

Canadian phonemaker Research in Motion (RIM) announced that the release of the software upgrade for its BlackBerry Playbook will be postponed until next year so that the software is able to "fully [meet] the expectations" of its users.

David Smith, senior vice president for BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM, wrote in a blog post that the company expects to release the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 to customers in February 2012.

"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," he said.

A beta version of the upgrade for developers was released during its BlackBerry DevCon Americas held last week, he noted.

RIM's co-chief excutives, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, had last month suggested the release of the software update was imminent during the company's earnings announcement, according to a New York Times (NYT) report.

The software update is intended to fix some "obvious omissions" in the PlayBook, among which is the tablet's inability to send or receive e-mail without being linked to a BlackBerry phone, the report stated.

Matthew Thornton, an analyst with Avian Securities, told NYT that the BlackBerry Playbook does not have much of a future and that the delay of the OS was "probably not a good sign".

During its launch, the BlackBerry Playbook was hailed as a strong contender to the Apple iPad. However, sales of the Playbook has been disappointing so far, with the company reported to have only shipped 700,000 tablets to retail partners in its first two months. By contrast, rival Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet is said to have sold one million units in three months.

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