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RIM delays PlayBook OS 2.0 update until next year

Given all the other hassles Research In Motion has been experiencing recently, this is news you can bet the company really did not want to have to give – but it’s given it nevertheless. The BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update will be delayed.

In an entry on the company’s BlackBerry blog posted on Tuesday, senior vice president David J. Smith said the Ontario-based company had “made the difficult decision to wait to launch BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 until we are confident we have fully met the expectations of our developers, enterprise customers and end-users.”

So for exactly how long will PlayBook owners be left tapping their fingers? Smith’s answer will please no one: “We expect to deliver the new BlackBerry PlayBook OS to customers in February 2012.”

But worse than that, the blog post says the long-awaited BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) app won’t be included in the update, leaving PlayBook owners having to continue using Bridge with a BlackBerry phone to get it on the tablet – the same goes for email. Calendar and contact apps are also wrapped up in the delay – features which PlayBook owners have been expecting since the tablet was launched in April.

With Amazon’s 8GB $199 Kindle Fire about to hit the shelves, it’s hard to believe consumers on the hunt for a tablet will opt for the PlayBook. Several outlets, such as Best Buy, recently cut the cost of all versions of RIM’s PlayBook, with the entry level 16GB device being reduced by $200 to $299. That at least made it a little more attractive. However, it turned out to be only a temporary sale price, and the tablet is once again selling for a hefty $499

Despite the delay with OS 2.0, Smith tried to be as upbeat as possible in the blog post: “We believe BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will deliver a great experience for our customers, building on the powerful performance introduced with BlackBerry PlayBook tablet earlier this year. 

“The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.” That’s all well and good, but the real question is, can PlayBook owners be bothered to wait four months for the update?

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