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BlackBerry PlayBook won't have native BBM, e-mail on launch

updated 11:40 pm EST, Sun January 9, 2011

RIM says PlayBook will only get native mail later

The recently tested BlackBerry PlayBook won't have native support for core messaging features when it ships, the company's Senior Product Manager Ryan Bidan said in a video interview (below). Initially, the BlackBerry Messenger, calendar and e-mail functions will need the BlackBerry Bridge pairing feature that shares a BlackBerry phone's services over Bluetooth. True local access is coming but doesn't have a definite roadmap.

A RIM representative hinted to Electronista at CES that there may be apps to support iOS devices or other platforms, but no details were official so far.

The lack of software could be an obstacle for the tablet as it would limit its appeal mostly to existing BlackBerry owners rather than those using competing phones. RIM has repeatedly said that the PlayBook is meant as a "professional-grade" tablet and that the bridging keeps the tight security intact, but it has also pitched the design as friendly for gaming and video, entering it into an environment where BlackBerry use is on the decline.

Bidan nonetheless promised that RIM's decision to go with a Wi-Fi only tablet would help fix the problem quickly. The PlayBook won't be forced to undergo carrier testing and thus can get updates as soon as they're made public, rather than having to wait for separate carrier approval and possible restrictions on apps. Many BlackBerry phones often face delays of months for basic updates or don't get patches at all.

By Electronista Staff


  1. MyRightEye

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



  1. facebook_Michael

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2011


    Somebody’s gettin’ firedddd

    The two things blackberry does right and their new product isn’t going to have it?!?

    We’ll it’s gonna go far, PR and product and development dropped the ball big time...

  1. nowwhatareyoulookingat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    Its name is ENTIRELY wrong

    if its target market is business.

  1. phillymjs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000


    This thing is doomed.

    They so badly need to get a product on store shelves that they are going to ship it unfinished.

    That's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for 'em.

  1. TomMcIn

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001


    Theory and Reality

    The difference between theory and reality is much greater in reality.

    I expect RIM and others are starting to realize how much effort Apple puts into their products before they are released and why secrecy helps prevent having to keep making publicly announcements like this one. Project Management is not easy when working on the edge.

  1. Marook

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 1999


    Not news!

    The fact that it needs a BB phone to connect was stated in the initial release demo!
    Did you not see that??? "The Playbook is a larger display for all your content on the phone..." was the statement (or very close to..)

    And was a lame excuse for not having cell connection! I don't think Apple asks ANY carrier (maybe except AT&T?) for testing before they put out softwareupdates!

  1. 001

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2010


    Not so bad

    It's not as bad as the original iPhone not shipping with cut and paste ;)

    I think @phillymjs is right, RIM is rushing the Playbook but I don't understand why the hurry — it's too late to be a first (or even second) mover, they might as well take the necessary time and push out a wonderful full-featured product. But, yeah @TomMcln, they have no idea what that takes.

  1. vistate

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2008


    totally missleading title

    numb skull - you say it won't - than in the first 2 sentences it will

    you idiots.

  1. droz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2009


    the Playbook is DOA

    DOA I tell you.

  1. wrenchy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Nov 2009



    You stole my line.

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