BlackBerry PlayBook tablet won’t get any more significant updates

BlackBerry recently confirmed that it had cancelled plans to bring the BlackBerry 10 operating system to its first 7 inch tablet. Now vice president Alec Saunders has confirmed that the BlackBerry PlayBook won’t be receiving any significant updates.

That means you won’t even see a new web browser, keyboard, or other BB10 features or support for Android apps designed for newer versions of Android.

BlackBerry PlayBook

We might still see minor security updates or other changes in the future, but it looks like the company is effectively treating the PlayBook as an end-of-life device and shifting its focus to new handsets designed to run BB10. There are currently no plans to launch a new tablet.

The news isn’t all that surprising. After all, the PlayBook has been on the market for over 2 years at this point, and mobile hardware has come a long way since it was released. Most BlackBerry 10 phones have more RAM and faster processors than the PlayBook.

CEO Thorsten Heins says that short of taking back the hardware and doubling the RAM (which would be practically impossible), there’s no way to get BB10 to run well on the PlayBook hardware.

Still, it’s disappointing news for folks who bought the BlackBerry’s first tablet back when the company was promising it’d eventually run the same BB10 software as its newest phones.

As Liliputing’s Lee Mathews points out, the PlayBook is still a decent device if you already have one — or if you’re in the market for a cheap tablet. You can pick one up for well under $150 these days, which is less than a third of the original list price.

What you get is a tablet with a decent web browser, support for a relatively small, but decent selection of apps, and support for Adobe Flash — something most competing devices don’t offer.

via n4bb

  • John Morris

    Shorter version: BB is dead. Their reason to exist is gone but the building and employees are still there casting about for a new reason to avoid returning all their assets to the shareholders and moving on with their life. The shareholders are equally in denial. This is the tech world, change is rapid, brutal and not even close to ‘fair'; whatever that is.

  • el_eff

    And this is the reason why I will never support another BB product. If a company blatantly abandons a product like this, they should be forced to unlock the device if it is locked and open source the software to the community for development.

    • CyberGusa

      Why is it okay for other companies to abandon their products, some like HTC doing it after just a little over one year (HTC One S isn’t getting any more updates after just 15 months), and most not providing support after just two years (average for Android market) but BB gets ridiculed for not providing significant support for a product that’s now over two years old?

      Even Apple eventually drops support for older models as soon as they can’t just run the latest software updates.

      Mind that TI isn’t even making OMAP SoC that the Playbook uses anymore for the consumer market. There’s no guarantee that BB10 would ever run very well on the Playbook’s now old hardware!

      Just because the Playbook OS is also based on QNX doesn’t mean much because BB10 is optimized for a lot more features and capabilities that would be harder to run well on a less powerful device.

      Sure, it sucks but it’s not like they had a whole lot of choice in the matter…

      The company is doing badly financially, their resources are very limited now, and they need to focus on new products if they are to have any hope of saving the company… Since right now they’re still losing money every quarter!

      So dropping support for the Playbook makes as much sense as amputating a limb to save a patient’s life… Sure, it hurts, but BB has to stop hemorrhaging money and start to actually make profits if the company is to have any chance at all…

      Besides, the upcoming flagship A10, with 5″ screen, can be used as a phablet anyway…

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        A) Who said it’s OK for others to do it?

        B) BlackBerry specifically said BB10 *would* be available for the PlayBook, and a decent number of BlackBerry fans bought the tablet thinking it’d get that update and be sort of the prototype of things to come, since both BlackBerry PlayBook OS and BB10 are based on QNX. What’s annoying those folks is that BlackBerry clearly stated they’d do something, and then reversed that decision.

        http://liliputing.com/2012/05/blackberry-10-coming-to-the-playbook-after-first-bb10-phone-launches.html

        I get that BB10 doesn’t run as well on older hardware — and that it’s therefore probably a bad idea to release something that would provide an inferior experience. But you’d think that since the announcement either would have come sooner, or since the promise was made and the hardware was already in hand, that they would have tried to at least take a page out of Apple’s “playbook” and offered a stripped-down version of BB10 for the PlayBook that might have some, but not all of the features available on phones like the Z10 and Q10.

      • CyberGusa

        A) All the people silent when others do it or act if it’s no big deal when others do it!

        BB has fairly consistently been treated by a lot of commenter’s as a company that’s already dead, should be dead, has no place in the market, and every mistake seems to be taken to justify those opinions!

        B) Sure, they tried but it wasn’t going well. BB10 was running sluggish on the Playbook and it would take a lot more time and development to see if they could fix it!

        Like I said, sure it sucks but they made those promises back when they had more resources. Don’t forget their last quarterly report was downright terrible!

        The Z10 and Q10 weren’t doing well enough to offset their other losses!

        This isn’t a company with a whole lot of options or room to waste resources without any clear benefit anymore!

        They never really sold many Playbooks, even with after they seriously discounted the price and sold each unit at a loss!

        While a stripped down version of BB10 would still mean a lot of time and resources to redevelop the OS, but with the very real possibility of it not being worth it in the end because stripped down also means not everything would work and supporting two separate branches of BB10 means more resources being dedicated to it that they really don’t have to spare…

        Meaning they had a reality check and realized they were risking the survival of the company on this promise… So it’s not really surprising they had to renege on that promise.

        Really, which would have been worse… keeping the promise with the likelihood of the company going out of business being a practical certainty or breaking the promise and doing what they could to try to save the company before it really is too late?

      • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

        Oh yeah, I’m not surprised at all that this happened — for the reasons you stated.

        I just wouldn’t begrudge anyone the opportunity to gripe about it. I think it’s fair from a consumer standpoint to be annoyed.

      • CyberGusa

        Sure, people have the right to be annoyed… but there’s a line between just being annoyed and actively calling for the end of the company and singling them out despite them not really doing anything that other companies haven’t also done or even worse!

        There are certain unfortunate realities about the business world and trying to make BB an example won’t change those realities!

        If anything, it just makes people ignore worse offenders while focused on less important things!

      • Syringe

        Personally, I’m one of those people who waited (while everyone else is happy playing their iPad or Galaxy Tab) for the playbook to come out because I wanted to show them my support.
        For someone living in a not so developed world, this is a lot of investment and I stuck by this tablet throughout all the issues I have with it for almost two years. I even bought the 9900 which never properly worked and was swept under the rug by Blackberry so they can focus on 10. Then this news.
        I think I have the right to be more than annoyed and actively calling them out. The unfortunately reality is that Blackberry has pissed off loyal customers like me. I don’t care if it’s the way of the world and I don’t care about HTC since I never buy their products. I’m sure they have their own problems.
        I spent a fortune on BB products which for the last two years have amount to crap when I could have focused on “more” important things!

      • Cal Rankin

        Yeah, I’d love to see them release all of the source code, but then all the encryption on the device would be for naught, right? Well, at least some of it.

  • marcopolo

    After 2 years they can’t even get the browser to stop crashing! Their stock chart looks like the titanic’s final voyage. R.I.P. Blackberry!

  • Conception

    That was my last BlackBerry device too. In fact, thanks to Brad’s videos, I finally put CM9 (7/15/2013 release with the Android key exploit fix) on my HP TouchPad and though it is so much more clunky than the PlayBook’s OS, it’s awesome to have ALL the apps I could ever want. It does run smoothly and the battery life is excellent…everything works too but it’s NOT BB OS. I find myself swiping all over the place and nothing happens. We were spoiled with the PlayBook’s UI that’s for sure (coming from webOS, I know what a good UI is). There’s a lot of learning to do with regards to installing and maintaining Android on a TouchPad but now that I’ve gone down this path, I at least have a tablet that’s still VERY functional and will continue to get updates and support. I will however never buy an HP product ever again.

    When the 9810 dies and the PlayBook dies, so will my reliance on BlackBerry as a company. Having BB10 promised to be delivered to the PlayBook by their own CEO and then reneging has become a trust issue. I simply don’t trust BlackBerry any longer. I defended this company full bore ever since I got my BB’s. I’ve even spent a year volunteering in the BB help forums and on CrackBerry solving issues for other users. This whole experience has been a giant waste of time and this company deserves the shitkicking it’s getting.

  • Erkezo

    BB10 for me is not a deal breaker,,, But Dammit can they at least get Skype to work on the playbook…

  • Fufu

    Ubuntu Phone….move on and dont look back…..

  • hibbidydibbidy

    It’s a shame. It is a solid little device, well built and easy to operate.

    It probably wouldn’t have saved them but they should have put stickers on all the demo ones in stores showing where to swipe to ‘minimize’ the current app. Once that was figured out it is simple to use. A lady at one store actually said “It is hard to use and mostly for people that have Blackberry phones”. That attitude from salespeople couldn’t have helped them at all.

    I wish it had more apps available but the ones it has tend to be better than a large number of Android apps and the free ones don’t have near the adds that the free Andriod ones have.

  • correia

    No more bbs for me… Clientes shouldnt be treeted like this!

  • surmasampo

    2 years and the playbook still lacks features promised at launch. Our org of 15000 users is ditching rim altogether due to lack of enterprise tablet support. Screw RIM.