RIM's juggling act flops as PlayBook OS 2.0 slips

This PlayBook OS 2.0 delay means that RIM's tablet customers still lack integrated email and calendar.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Research in Motion just can't get this operating system thing down. Fresh off a developer powwow that only muddled its operating system picture, RIM now said that its PlayBook OS 2.0 will slip into February.

By then the PlayBook will be an afterthought. In fact, the PlayBook is already an afterthought. The upshot: This PlayBook OS 2.0 delay means that RIM's tablet customers still lack integrated email and calendar. BlackBerry users can still use BlackBerry Bridge, but that's a workaround that should have been fixed months ago.

In a blog post, RIM's David J. Smith, senior vice president of the PlayBook said:

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 continued.

We believe BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will deliver a great experience for our customers, building on the powerful performance introduced with BlackBerry PlayBook tablet earlier this year. The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

Does anyone really want to bet that this OS will land in February? Does anyone want to bet that the PlayBook will even be a viable tablet competitor in February? I didn't think so.

Related: RIM delays BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update until Feb 2012With BBX, is RIM 'ready to jam' in the enterprise? | RIM's BlackBerry outage: $350 million max hit, but losing enterpriseRIM's biggest problem: Always seeking a device home run

The biggest problem is that RIM has two many operating systems and runtimes. RIM isn't focused and the OS strategy looks jumbled. You've got BlackBerry 7.0, QNX for smartphones, PlayBook 2.0, support for Adobe's platforms and plans for Android. It's a mess and if you're a developer you have to adopt Android as your RIM strategy.

Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Modoff sums it up.

The company now supports nine operating systems (OS) or run-times. We think this implies RIM's management remains unfocused in their smartphone strategy and have left the door wide open for competitors to encroach further into their markets.

RIM appears to be swarming fire to fire and OS to OS as it tries to please everyone. That strategy is going to flop. You can't speak to your enterprise base if you can't produce a tablet with native emails and messaging.

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