updated 07:05 pm EDT, Fri August 19, 2011
BlackBerry Tablet OS 2 may take iOS cues
RIM's long-delayed native e-mail and calendars for the PlayBook may wait until one, monolithic update later in the year. Multiple tip providers asserted Friday that, rather than roll updates out as they become available, RIM would have one big "PlayBook 2.0" release. The move seen by CrackBerry could see RIM miss its already pushed back summer target.
The update would also bring in significant changes to the OS itself. RIM would scrap the app tray categorization it has been using since BlackBerry 6 and instead introduce a more iPad-like control scheme. Users would put apps into folders to sort content, much like their Apple counterparts. Other interface changes would be in store but haven't been detailed so far.
Having to overcome the one-device BlackBerry limit may still see an incomplete solution to the problem. While the PlayBook would finally get direct mail, BBM, calendars, and contacts, it would still have to have a distinct PIN code and couldn't share contact lists. Work would still be underway to unifity it and allow multiple devices, but it could still lead to BlackBerry loyalists having to carefully manage two lists where Android and iOS users will have unified data.
Although purely speculation, the 2.0 update may be more likely to show around BlackBerry DevCon starting on October 18. RIM might try to partly honor its original expectations by giving developers the missing native apps in test form.
The company left the PlayBook without important features like native e-mail in a rush to get the tablet to market and have a competitor to the iPad. While BlackBerry phone owners can use Bridge to fill the gap, the method has led to criticial reviews and poor adoption that might not have been an issue if the software had been polished. Unofficially, it may have had to slash its shipment targets after the limitations handed market share to Apple and Google.