The BlackBerry PlayBook has made a respectable showing in the tablet market so far. RIM isn’t blowing through PlayBook inventory like iPad 2s, but with more than half a million shipped and strong sales posted in some corners of the globe, things are looking pretty rosy for the Waterloo company. Next month, the PlayBook is going to get a little more attractive — with the arrival of BBM and a native email client.

PlayBook owners could already access BBM and email via BlackBerry Bridge, but that only works if your tablet is paired with one of RIM’s smartphones as well. Business Insider confirms that a full-fledged email app and BlackBerry Messenger will both be arriving in September, and those additions will bring a much-needed infusion of standalone functionality.

For a company with such a strong enterprise pedigree, the lack of email and RIM’s trademark messaging service caught just about everyone in the tech world off guard. Their absence was off-putting to consumers, too, who naturally assumed any device with the BlackBerry logo on it would let them message their friends using BBM.

Now if RIM would just hurry up and release the Android Player app, PlayBook users would really be able to tap into the hardware’s full potential. No word yet on whether or not that’s going to happen in September as well, but don’t hold your breath.

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Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

5 replies on “BlackBerry PlayBook finally getting BBM and native email”

    1. You mean aside from the fact it’s still being sold, and has been out a little longer than the TouchPad?

      There’s slow and there’s discontinued, still iffy on the Playbook future but it’s not discontinued yet and that’s better than the TouchPad at this point.

      The updates may be too late though, considering people are already starting to gear up for the next gen offerings coming out next year and the interest in the Playbook is way down from when it first came out.

  1. Yeah that could be.  I have an old BlackBerry Storm 1 I tried to use with WiFi to get Bridge and check out the shared functionality, but you’re not allowed to really do anything if the BB doesn’t have service on it and since my work no longer paid for me to have a BlackBerry, Android it is.  

    Too bad really.  I love my PlayBook, but at the moment it’s mostly a web browser.  And a basic browser, at that (won’t remember logins, passwords, etc either).

  2. I think the reason for the lack of native email on launch was to get people to buy a BB phone in order to use email on the playbook.

  3. It would be awesome if they released a decent e-reader app as well.  The Kindle thing seems to be dead in the water, and B&N told me they don’t have any plans to make nook software available on the PlayBook.  Kobo is pretty barebones and you can’t sideload any ebooks making this useless for most people wanting to read their non-pdf ebooks.  

    They did release an update last night though.

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