BlackBerry PlayBook owners may soon receive the OS update they’ve been promised since last summer.
The BlackBerry PlayBook was originally launched by Research In Motion (RIM) in April of 2011. But apparently the 7 inch tablet was not quite ready for prime time. Many of the features that BlackBerry fans expected to be included on the PlayBook weren’t available. Basic things… such as BlackBerry messenger, email, calendar and contact applications. The tablet required a BlackBerry smartphone to actually run these applications, and the PlayBook would use a ‘bridge’ to display the contents.
But buyers were told there would be an update within 60 days that would add these apps to the PlayBook for real. Well… that update got pushed back to later in the summer, then pushed back to the fall. In October 2011 it was pushed back again, to February 2012.
February 2012 is here. And it looks like an update may actually be on the way. Sascha Segan, over at PCMag.com, reported today that BlackBerry senior brand manager Jeff Gadway told them that the new OS would arrive “very soon.” Gadway said it would be pushed to all PlayBooks automatically.
The update will include all those missing BlackBerry ‘things’ – like email and message support, Microsoft Exchange, a contact book, a calendar.
Interestingly enough, after the update, the PlayBook will even be able to run reformatted Android apps on the BlackBerry PlayBook. The apps will be available in BlackBerry App World.
Once updated, the PlayBook won’t be dependent on a BlackBerry smartphone. But it will be able use a BlackBerry smartphone as a supplemental device. Users will be able to use the smart phone as a mouse or keyboard for the tablet.
The exact date that the update will be pushed to the PlayBook was not announced. We’ll just have to go with “very soon” for now.
Gadway also said that tablet shoppers should stay tuned for news about the price of the BlackBerry PlayBook. That piques our interest here at CP of course. The 16 GB version of the tablet was originally priced at $500, but was dropped $199 near the end of November, 2011. It remains available at that price on BlackBerry’s website today.
Will the new operating system, with BlackBerry Apps, the ability run Android apps, and perhaps even a price drop, spur interest in a year-old tablet with sluggish sales? RIM is banking on it.