A day after BlackBerry (BBRY) CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company wasn’t going to produce another tablet until it had figured out how to make it more than “just another tablet,” a senior executive said that a sequel to BlackBerry’s Playbook tablet is already in the works. Mike Al Mefleh, a BlackBerry director of product management, claimed in an interview with Emirates 24|7 at the Dubai BlackBerry User’s Forum that the company will release six new BlackBerry devices in 2013, in addition to a new Playbook. The executive didn’t reveal a release timeframe, however sources speaking to Emirates 24|7 suggest the device, which may sport a 10-inch display, could launch by the end of the second quarter. BlackBerry is also expected to update the original Playbook to the BlackBerry 10 operating system later this year.
One of the unique features of the BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 10 operating system is the ability to run Android apps. This is achieved through the company’s “Runtime for Android apps” program, however it isn’t perfect. For one, the runtime environment is based on the two-year old Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and not a recent version, but BlackBerry (BBRY) on Monday announced that it plans to eventually update the Android runtime environment to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, CrackBerry reported. This will allow Android developers to port their Android 4.0+ apps to the BlackBerry 10 platform, however the company didn’t give a specific time frame as to when the update will be complete.
When RIM (RIMM) on Thursday unveiled its 4G LTE BlackBerry PlayBook, there was one piece of information that was noticeably absent: pricing. But now MobileSyrup has seemingly discovered that the LTE PlayBook will cost Canadian residents $550 off-contract, $500 with a one-year service agreement, $450 with a two-year service agreement and $350 with a three-year service agreement. RIM’s decision to make its new PlayBook a high-end device with a minimum 32GB of storage and LTE connectivity will likely raise some eyebrows, especially given the success of low-cost 7-inch tablets such as the Google (GOOG) Nexus 7 and the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle Fire, as well as the fact that LTE data caps have limited the appeal of LTE tablets for many users. More →
Research In Motion (RIMM) has not found success in the tablet market quite yet. The struggling smartphone vendor crossed over to the tablet space last year with its debut slate, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and it was met with mixed early reviews. There was nothing mixed about the half-billion dollar charge RIM had to take in the third fiscal quarter last year due to unsold PlayBook inventory, however, and RIM would later slash the PlayBook’s price in an effort to move units. In spite of the company’s torrid past with tablets, CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed that a 4G version was still in the works, and now we may finally see it launch later this month. More →
We hardly knew ye, 16GB BlackBerry PlayBook. The demise of the 16GB PlayBook, first reported by N4BB and later confirmed by Engadget, means that RIM is only offering the more expensive 32GB and 64GB versions of its tablet. A RIM spokesperson told Engadget that the company is still “committed to the tablet space” but simply feels that “there is more value for our customers in the higher capacity models (32 GB, 64 GB).” N4BB, however, speculates that the real reason for dumping the 16GB tablet boils down to value for RIM, since “there is barely any profit on every 16GB PlayBook sold,” especially “given the price cuts putting the PlayBook to its relative production cost.” More →
As promised, Research in Motion on Friday released the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 beta for developers. The latest software update delivers three major enhancement to the Android Runtime, allowing access to the Camera hardware, sorting each individual Android app to run in its own window, and enabling in-app payments through the BlackBerry Payment SDK. The update also includes portrait support for the Email, Calendar and Contacts apps, along with full device encryption, screenshots saved in the PNG format, and improved email folder support, including IMAP folder support. The update will be pushed to eligible devices developer devices, and will roll out soon for consumers. More →
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook product manager, Michael Clewley, has confirmed through his Twitter page that the company is planning to release a beta version of its 2.1 Playbook OS by the “end of May.” After signing up as a BlackBerry developer, the update will be pushed to eligible devices once it is released. The company’s previous update brought native contacts, calendar and email to the tablet. Details surrounding the PlayBook OS 2.1 beta are not yet available. More →
What do you get when you cross a struggling vendor’s debut tablet with a mobile operating system that has spent the past 18 months running into the brick wall that is Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS? One Dutch developer seemingly needed to find out, so he ported Microsoft’s perpetually-emerging Windows Phone OS onto RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook. The result is a somewhat responsive slate that gives us a look at what will never be; Microsoft is on record in stating that it has no interest in bringing Windows Phone — emphasis on “Phone” — to tablets. Of course, with the software giant’s next-generation Windows 8 platform on the horizon there is no reason to put Windows Phone on a tablet. But for those curious to know what a Windows Phone tablet might look like, a video of the developer’s PlayBook running Microsoft’s mobile OS follows below. “Gamer109X,” the developer behind this curious chimera, said he plans to release a Windows Phone build for the PlayBook to the public in the coming months.
UPDATE: A number of readers point out that rather than having hacked Windows Phone to run on the PlayBook, Gamer109X is running Microsoft’s Web-based Windows Phone emulator in the PlayBook’s browser with reading mode enabled. More →
Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins at a press event on Wednesday confirmed that a 4G LTE PlayBook will launch by the end of this year. According to The Canadian Reviewer, the tablet will be equipped with an updated dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHZ, will include NFC technology and look similar to the current BlackBerry PlayBook. BGR in January exclusively reported details about RIM’s plans to introduce a new PlayBook tablet around May or June that will be equipped with a 1.5GHz processor, built-in HSPA+ and NFC support. In March, a RIM tablet with HSPA+ and LTE radios passed through the FCC, confirming speculation regarding a 4G PlayBook. More →
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook may be down, but it’s definitely not out. Over a year ago, the company revealed plans to release an LTE-compatible PlayBook as well as a 3G model that will work on HSPA+ networks. Details surrounding these variants have been few and far between, with some assuming they were simply canceled. As it turns out, two tablets from Research in Motion recently passed through the FCC equipped with HSPA+ connectivity and AT&T compatible LTE radios. BGR in January exclusively reported details about RIM’s plans to introduce a new PlayBook tablet around May or June that will be equipped with a 1.5GHz processor, built-in HSPA+ and NFC support. More →
Following the much delayed BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 update, the tablet finally has a native email client, other PIM apps and a larger selection of apps thanks to its Android player. Research in Motion is now looking to further boost interest in its debut slate, and it has announced the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for those users looking for a physical keypad option on top of the virtual one. The accessory retails for a lofty $119.99 and is available for pre-order starting today, with shipments going out on March 23rd. The concept of the keyboard is similar to the competition. It includes a multitouch trackpad for browsing, a keyboard for easy input and a battery that last up to 30 days. Unlike the ASUS Transformer Prime, RIM’s accessory does not have a docking feature and is just a carrying case with an integrated Bluetooth keyboard. RIM’s video demonstation follows below. More →
Analytics firm Chitika on Tuesday revealed the findings of a recent study that shows the latest Blackberry PlayBook operating system update is already running on 43.7% of devices after just one week. “It would seem that this rapid rate of adoption is expected given that the upgrade was free and in many cases automatic,” Chitika said in its report. “If the use of the OS continues to grow at this rate with 50% decay, market majority will be achieved in two weeks, and by three weeks 75% of all PlayBook OS eligible devices will be running the upgrade.” The highly anticipated update to Research In Motion’s struggling tablet brought a number of much needed improvements to the PlayBook. Perhaps the most important additions were native email, contacts and calendar functionality, while BlackBerry Messenger support is still nowhere in site. After the update, PlayBooks also benefited from the addition of RIM’s Android app player, which allows repackaged Android applications to run on RIM’s tablet. Read on for Chitika’s press release.
Netflix on Thursday revealed that it has no plans to bring its streaming service to Research In Motion’s mobile platforms. With the release of the Playbook 2.0 update, it was not immediately clear whether the company would port its existing Android app to the platform or perhaps create a native app for RIM’s tablet OS, however neither will be the case. “We don’t have any current plans to support BlackBerry devices, including PlayBook,” the company confirmed on Twitter. Netflix has more than 24 million U.S. subscribers and it recently expanded its streaming-only service to make it available in Canada and parts of Latin America. Read on for a screen capture of Netflix’s confirmation. More →