updated 03:55 pm EDT, Wed August 24, 2011
PlayBook at last due for native messaging in month
RIM may not wait for an all-encompassing update to give the PlayBook the features it promised before launch. Sources mentioned Wednesday that the update for native e-mail, BlackBerry Messenger, and other features would arrive sometime in September. The Android app wrapper, once promised for the summer, now wouldn't come until sometime "later on in the year," Bloomberg's source said.
The same sources also hinted that the Android wrapper would be shipping out of the box on the first QNX-based BlackBerry, which many believe will be called the BlackBerry Colt. Its only changes would be to adapt to the different screens of BlackBerry hardware. RIM was hoping to avoid repeating the mistake it made with the PlayBook in promising features that didn't show on time, according to one tip.
RIM didn't confirm or deny the scheduling.
PlayBook sales haven't been given out beyond the 500,000 shipments from RIM's last quarter, but they're believed to be soft in part because of the software state and a lack of clear signs an update was coming. A desire to rush the tablet out to compete with the iPad led RIM to rely on pairing with a BlackBerry to get mail and BBM outside of a browser. Before it released in April, RIM executives promised native mail and other feature within 60 days of launch, only to move it back to summer.
The lack of firm schedules has unofficially been blamed on an inherent limit to the way RIM designed BlackBerry data years ago. By tying it to the device, RIM had made it impossible to have both a PlayBook and a BlackBerry checking the same account. It will need to fix the issue by the time the Colt arrives early next year.