Back in March, Research in Motion said its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet would expand its app ecosystem to allow compatibility with Android apps by this summer. A report from Engadget this morning is throwing cold water on that promise, with an unnamed “reliable source” saying it won’t happen until “late fall.”
The release of the PlayBook tablet was supposed to show how RIM was innovating its product line, but instead the device received poor reviews and sales have been slow. Gartner mobile analyst Micheal Gartenberg told VentureBeat that the delay of Android app implementation will be problematic to RIM’s presentation of the PlayBook as a forward-looking device.
“The delay isn’t going to help RIM, who touted this as a feature that would help them level the app playing field,” Gartenberg said. “For consumers, RIM still needs to answer the fundamental question, ‘Why buy a Playbook over competitive devices?'”
Earlier today, RIM launched five new BlackBerry smartphone models. While the new devices run the new BlackBerry 7 OS, the devices themselves appear to be incremental upgrades of existing models. Only one of the announced phones — the BlackBerry Torch 9860 — appears to be moving in a different direction with its full touchscreen. But because OS 7 isn’t a major upgrade for touch interfaces, the phone will still lag behind the competition.
Releasing phones that don’t dramatically innovate and delaying much-anticipated features on its flagship tablet are not helping RIM prove to consumers and investors that the company is serious about countering Apple, Google, and Microsoft in this space.
Are you a PlayBook owner? Do you think RIM is serious about its new product development?