Unfortunately, for many Playbook owners Blackberry recently announced that they would not be making the Blackberry 10 OS available for the tablet. Aside from rumors about the crossover, there actually has been some past evidence that the platform would be restructured to work on the Playbook. This is especially disconcerting news since both the Playbook OS and BB10 are based around QNX. In theory, it should have worked.
According to CEO Thorsten Heins, the performance just wasn’t enough to warrant a full on release. He made the announcement via the company’s Q1 earnings call just last week. Despite the fact that the company has been working on the project, Heins recently put an end to its development.
Instead, the company will stay lean and focus on smartphones where they have a real chance to gain back some profitability. RIM still has a long way to go before they see the kind of success that they have in the past.
This definitely comes as a blow to Playbook owners who were more than looking forward to the update, many of them were actually expecting it.
For the company though, this is a good decision. They can focus their efforts on more important tasks instead of doling out manpower for the various Playbook updates.
That being said, that doesn’t mean I don’t side with Playbook owners on the matter. I think it’s quite shady of Blackberry, to say the least. If the hardware and performance just wasn’t there though, then there’s not much they can do about it now.
This marks the end of a very troubled life cycle for the Playbook. It’s a capable tablet sure, but it doesn’t replicate the kind of functionality that a lot of competing devices do. Keep in mind, Blackberry has promised to continue supporting the device in its current form. What that means, I’m not entirely sure but I suppose we’ll know soon enough. I won’t be surprised at all if Blackberry discontinues support for the device shortly after this.
We may see another tablet from Blackberry in the future once they’ve gained some market share back, but for now it’s probably off the table. Google, Amazon and other rivals are offering budget tablets that are just way too much to keep up with. After all, it’s because of the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 that Blackberry eventually dropped the price of the Playbook from $499 to $199 or less, taking a huge loss in the move. In fact, the price cuts alone caused Blackberry to incur a $85 million inventory writedown.
Long story short, this pretty much marks the end of the Playbook’s lifecycle. It won’t be much longer before the tablet is gone for good. It’s time to hang our hats in respect and bow our heads for the little tablet that could… or couldn’t.
Are you a Playbook owner? What do you think of this news? Were you expecting Blackberry to honor the upgrade to Blackberry 10? Feel free to discuss the matter in the comments below.