RIM's PlayBook OS 2.0 pushed into Feb. 2012 with no BBM
February is now the target.
The update for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which launched in April, will now lose a major feature -- the addition of BlackBerry Messenger, also known as BBM.
"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," said David J. Smith, RIM's senior vice president overseeing the PlayBook tablet, in a statement. "We have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBM application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release.
"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."
Smith said that until RIM can get BBM working on the PlayBook OS the way it'd like, users will have to continue to use BlackBerry Bridge, which wirelessly connects BlackBerry smartphones to the PlayBook tablet for BBM and email access. If you've got a PlayBook and no BlackBerry phone, then you don't have a native email app and no BBM.
RIM is, however, making progress with its developer tools for the PlayBook, he said, noting that the "gold release" of the BlackBerry PlayBook native software developer kit and a beta of PlayBook OS 2.0 are now available, Smith said.
"The developer beta allows developers to begin porting their native apps to the PlayBook platform," he said. "We expect that the developer beta will generate thousands of new applications for BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0."
PlayBook OS 2.0 is expected to include a native email app and improved calendar and contact apps.
This isn't the first time this year that a RIM release has been delayed.
When RIM announced the PlayBook, it promised that 3G and 4G models would arrive shortly after the initial Wi-Fi-only PlayBook launched. So far, no other versions of the PlayBook have been released or even officially announced.
In August, Sprint said it wasn't going to carry a 4G PlayBook as previously planned and RIM said it would focus on releasing a 4G PlayBook through other carriers by the fall, but so far there has been no news on that end.
In March, RIM Co-Chief Executive and President Mike Lazaridis said that an "upcoming addition ... will provide our users with an even greater choice of apps and will showcase the versatility of the platform" by allowing the PlayBook to run apps developed for Google's Android operating system.
That update hasn't arrived either, but is now set to be a feature in the BBX operating system for BlackBerry phones and the PlayBook. BBX will launch sometime in 2012 as well.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Mike Lazaridis, president and Co-CEO of Research in Motion, speaks about the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, during BlackBerry's DevCon in San Francisco on Oct. 18. Credit: Beck Diefenbach / Reuters.