RIM says no BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 until February 2012

If you own a BlackBerry I’m going to guess it’s largely for two reasons, email and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The way enterprise email and BBM are integrated on the device is the biggest reason companies give the devices to their employees and individual users have chosen to stick with BlackBerry over iOS or Android. Well, if you invested in a BlackBerry PlayBook for the email and BBM integration get ready to be disappointed. Research in Motion (RIM) announced today that they would be deferring a native email client as well as BBM services on the device until next year.

RIM says no BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 until February 2012

Email and BBM are probably the two largest reasons why anyone would decide to buy a BlackBerry PlayBook instead of one of the plethora of other tablets out there.

One of the many disappointments about the PlayBook was the first version of its OS didn’t include a native email client or BBM capabilities. RIM originally promised those features would be coming in OS 2.0 which was going to hit at some point this year. Instead the company has decided to put another strike against themselves and delay the release of that OS until early 2012.

David J. Smith, Senior Vice President at RIM said in a release,

“First off, we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBM™ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry® Bridge™ to securely access BlackBerry® Messenger™ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.”

The statement goes on to talk about developer support as well as beta versions of OS 2.0 being released in the coming months. There is a ton of happy talk in there about how RIM is addressing the difficulty of integrating the tablet into the enterprise environment with their PlayBook. It would be a lot easier to integrate the tablet into that environment if your OS included support for the two biggest reasons enterprise customers use your devices.

So exactly when is RIM going to release their OS 2.0? Smith addressed that at the very end of his release saying,

“We expect to deliver the new BlackBerry PlayBook OS to customers in February 2012 and we’ll continue to keep you updated as we progress to the launch.”

This has just been an awful few months for RIM. First, the PlayBook launched to mediocre reviews and relatively poor sales numbers even leading to Sprint abandoning the device. Then, the tablet saw some pretty heavy handed discounts at major retailers like Best Buy. Next, BlackBerry services go down worldwide for the better part of a week. Instead of offering service credits to users for the downtime RIM decides that free apps are totally the way to win back the loyalty of their customers. It should be made abundantly clear here that enterprise customers don’t care about apps they want to get their email and BBMs in a timely fashion so they can do business.

Now, RIM shoots themselves in the foot by pushing back their tablet OS update containing critical services to next year. They may not have been able to control the poor reception the PlayBook received or even the extended services outrage, but this decision is something that they can control. This move is like the nail in the coffin to a truly terrible few quarters for the company. It’s almost like these decisions are being made to deliberately sink the ship. Perhaps the executives are ready for an extended vacation.

If RIM doesn’t get their act together soon enterprise customers are going to jump ship all together to iOS or Android devices. With iOS offering iMessage services which mimic BBM there is almost no reason not to at least try out a competing company that could provide more robust services. Hopefully RIM will see that they are being self destructive in their decisions and make some wise choices to right things. Otherwise the company is going to hit rock bottom very quickly.

What do you think of the decision to push back the PlayBook OS 2.0 until 2012?