RIM's PlayBook Graduates From Useless to Irrelevant
So far, Research In Motion's (NAS: RIMM) PlayBook has lived a dejected life. The mullet of a device has suffered congenital disabilities throughout its existence, namely the lack of several basic productivity applications like email, calendar, or contacts.
After the initial criticism for such egregious omissions, the company promised that it would deliver them, only to delay it multiple times to a February launch. Well it's February now, and at long last RIM has delivered PlayBook OS 2.0, finally bringing those three basic functionalities to the device. The PlayBook is no longer entirely useless; instead, it's been promoted to the status of irrelevant.
Source: Official BlackBerry Blog.
It's amazing that it took Research In Motion a solid 10 months after launch to deliver features that should be a mainstay of any mobile device. It seems the company put support for various Google (NAS: GOOG) Android apps higher on the priority list, as PlayBook owners were able to play popular games like Angry Birds or Plants Vs. Zombies before they could natively email, as those titles have been ported over to the BlackBerry App World.
The software update comes just in time for the PlayBook to be promptly obliterated by the iPad 3, which is widely expected to be unveiled by Apple (NAS: AAPL) within weeks. Amazon.com (NAS: AMZN) is also rumored to launch a second-generation Kindle Fire in the second quarter, further making the PlayBook irrelevant.
As hard as it's trying, RIM simply can't seem to find homes for its written-down PlayBook inventory. The company has now resorted to giving them away to Android developers. The deadline for that promotion has passed, but RIM has decided to extend it even further until March 2. RIM attributed the extension to "overwhelming interest in the offer," but I'm skeptical of that notion.
We've already seen RIM fib a bit on its site before with claims that high volumes of orders were causing delays. I wouldn't be surprised if this was another little white lie, and the only thing overwhelming is RIM's glut of unsold tablets.
Sorry, RIM. Too little, too late.
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