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PlayBook Won't Ship With Native Apps

David Gilbert


PlayBook Won't Ship With Native Apps

It seems as if RIM is doing all it can to mess up what could be one of the best tablets we have yet seen.

Having already failed to have the software developer kit (SDK) finished prior to shipping and only having a WiFi version at launch were bad enough, but RIM is now telling us that the BlackBerry PlayBook will come without native communication and messaging apps that made BlackBerry smartphones so popular. In a leaked FAQ for the PlayBook, the Canadian manufacturer tells us that native calendar, contacts, messaging and email will not be present when early adopters unwrap their new tablets on 19 April, when the device is launching in the States. News last week that Android apps would be supported on the platform was seen as a major coup for RIM, but this latest mis-step will leave many frustrated.

In the FAQ, RIM says that the PlayBook can be securely connected to a BlackBerry smartphone over Bluetooth via the BlackBerry Bridge feature where the native apps on the phone can be displayed on the bigger 7in screen of the tablet. It also helpfully points out that email can be accessed through the PlayBook browser, which was nice of them. However at the end of the FAQ it finally admits the lack of native apps promising they will be coming soon: “In a future software update for the BlackBerry PlayBook, we will also provide native e-mail, calendar, and contact apps for those customers who prefer to have these apps directly on the tablet.”

“Those customers who prefer to have these apps directly on the tablet?” Do they mean everyone then? This could be a major issue for RIM and will leave those people who have been pinning their hopes on the PlayBook being a real iPad competitor, burying their head in their hands. It seems from all the evidence that despite giving Apple well over a year of a head start, RIM has still rushed the PlayBook to market and it will not be all that we hoped it could be when we were seriously impressed at CES in January.

It’s now clear that when RIM CEO Jim Balsillie said that apps were pointless, he really meant it. With the launch of the PlayBook in the UK not for a few months yet, let's hope we will have a fully functioning tablet to play with by then.

Source: CrackBerry.com


March 30, 2011, 7:55 pm

That title is a bit misleading, you could have just wrote: "PlayBook Won't Ship With Native Email and BBM Apps".


March 30, 2011, 8:05 pm

And another one bites the dust.

Are these other companies trying to make people buy the iPad?

Greg Shewan

March 30, 2011, 8:19 pm

I always thought this device would be a failure, a new OS... just what the market needs. NOT.

@markc1728 - exactly... it's ridiculous not to mention how long it is taking this thing to reach the market. I'm pinning my hopes on Samsung's new tablets ;)


March 30, 2011, 8:47 pm

Any news on when you will be reviewing the Asus EEE Pad Transformer?


March 30, 2011, 10:04 pm

This is the problem with rivals, everything's either vapourware or 'has a lot of potential' or 'getting there soon'.. It's the same old story over and over again.. Isn't everyone just bored/tired of waiting?


March 30, 2011, 10:05 pm

Hilarious. People are going to switch these on and go "eh?" #fail


March 31, 2011, 5:16 am

From a spectator's viewpoint, i have to admit that this notion of people easily entering certain consumer spaces with better,faster, slicker products never seems to ring true where Apple is concerned.

Apple sets a VERY HIGH BAR if it gets a headstart - Microsoft is looking wise with all it's delays right about now.. ^_^


March 31, 2011, 12:39 pm

It surprised me that no one else picked up on this/accepted it when it was first announced. I must admit, of all the competitors, this device looked the most hopefully- but without native email (and a half-hearted confessions that, actually, you probably will want email but we'll deliver that feature to you later) it kind of misses the opportunity- Blackberry, for a lot of people, means Communication, messaging and email- they're actually weakening their brand image by bringing out a device that won't do you mail (and no, web browser access to your mail most certainly does not count!)- astounding mistake on RIM's side.

Hamish Campbell

March 31, 2011, 1:12 pm

Wasn't there any native mail and other apps on these when they were displayed at CES?


March 31, 2011, 1:28 pm

Acquire pistol.
Load 1 round.
Locate foot.
Take aim.


March 31, 2011, 2:16 pm

Lets not go crazy. They'll be plenty of alternatives. I'm actually hoping this device opens up the WEB to tablets. I'm getting mighty tired of apps. I'd rather see more apps from the Chrome Web store. Try DeviantArt Muro for instance. It's as good and easy to access as an app. And if other sites start creating compelling web alternatives linked directly to paypal and useable on tablets, they'll cut out the middleman of these stupid app stores.

In the footnote of history, I'd like to think apps were the kickstart to making great tailored web experiences.


March 31, 2011, 2:56 pm

Frustrating is, I think, the word that best sums up the Playbook. Looking at what they've shown so far RIM seems to be on to something with a product that's at least trying to be different from the iPad rather than just a me-too clone. Yet it's becoming increasingly clear (and it wasn't too bloody cloudy in the first place) RIM have no real direction for the thing. It's being rush released to try and beat its rivals to market and has some major ommisions (the e-mail, calendar and contacts apps being missing was known months ago) and a massively messy developer scene.

Here's the thing though... if RIM really push the boat out on developing the OS and itterating through several versions quickly I can see this working. Honeycomb is currently, and surprisingly, in a bit of trouble (very few tablet-specific apps, delayed devices at high price points, Google becoming increasingly closed with the source code which doesn't help their 'swamp the market' stratergy), webOS isn't with us in tablet form yet and may struggle to create a real identity for itself with a 10" device and Microsoft... umm... well let's just say Microsoft aren't really at the party right now, m'kay. The Playbook just might be able to make a case for the 7" market and rapidly build out on the back of existing RIM customers but they MUST show they not only back the product but understand what needs to be fixed.


March 31, 2011, 4:57 pm

@darkspark88 As soon as Web apps start to be as good (fast/efficient) as native ones without the need for intermediate compilers (ie. flash), then I'm on board.. But at the moment, with HTML5 developer/browser support still in it's infancy, native seems to be the way to go.. And whilst web apps may provide worthy alternatives for a lot of internet accessing tasks, it's still got a looong way to go before it can match what you can do when you go 'native'. I mean can you image getting something like Infinity Blade working from an HTML 5 canvas element?


March 31, 2011, 6:16 pm

@Ihsan - That's what tech such as Gaikai is supposed to do for online gaming. A lot of the rest I think can be done with HTML 5. Like I said, at the moment Apps seem like the best situation now, but those who have looked ahead, are not swung by the iPad because of the apps. That's why I think the Playbook has a really good future market. They just have to be sure not to tie their blackberry services too tightly to the device. Which is why lack of native calendar is not a problem. Google Calendar is a great alternative.

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