Playbook update revealed, but no one cares

Posted by Raven Lovecraft

Research in Motion chose CES to be the launching pad for the new version of its Playbook tablet OS.

The only problem is that no one has or wants a Playbook. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that most people are seeing the news as too little, too late.

RIM at CES is kind of like the first day of school with that kid who had to be held back from the year before. Instead of anyone being excited about what the company has to offer, everyone is coming with the question of what RIM can possibly do to turn itself around.

The new version of the Playbook OS, version 2.0, finally fully integrates such basic features as messaging and a calendar. Those features did exist on the Playbook from day one, but only if users happened to own a Blackberry phone, had wireless connectivity turned on for both devices, and went through the syncing process.

By not having something as basic as a calendar app out of the box, the Playbook earned harsh criticism. Other features were also missing and added in previous software updates.

Also new for the Playbook with version 2.0 is a digital streaming Video Store and a new slate of professional tools like ruch-text email composing and Microsoft Office document editing.

Also at CES, RIM is boasting its new Blackberry operating system based on QNX, the same platform as the Playbook. QNX-powered Blackberry phones were supposed to be available early this year but RIM pushed it back to the second half of 2012 last month, inducing yet another blow to the company that has lost so much.

QNX made a splash when it was introduced on Blackberry's flagship tablet, the Playbook. The intuitive interface and masterful multitasking functionality scored praise among reviewers, though it was not without its faults.

Nonetheless, it was a brand new, from-the-ground-up operating system, which critics had been pushing RIM to offer for years. Bringing that interface to the Blackberry smartphone line could have given it a much needed boost.

But now, with at least six or seven months to wait until this becomes a reality, it may very well be too little too late. By then, Nokia's partnership with Windows Phone will be in its maturity and the dominance of Android and iOS will only continue to grow on a global scale.

Until then, RIM has to rely on its existing Blackberry software, which still has roots that date back to the early 2000s. There is no room for a platform like that in today's mobile climate.