The few people who actually bought a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet can look forward to a BlackBerry 10 update. CEO Thorsten Heins says the company plans to provide its latest OS to all existing PlayBooks.
The PlayBook has been an slow seller since its release in 2011, and the company had to slash the price of the $500 tablet to encourage sales. That helped, and some online retailers sold out of PlayBooks. But in September, RIM, which announced today that it will henceforth be known as Blackberry, said it had sold only 1.74 million PlayBooks. It’s a sad sales figure compared to the 22.9 million iPads sold in the last quarter alone, but hey, at least it isn’t a total failure. And with a BlackBerry 10 update coming, users can look forward to a much-improved software experience.
“Playbook OS is nice, but lacks many features and apps and I really don’t like using it for anything except web browsing,” PlayBook owner and BlackBerry developer Suyash Srijan told Wired. “But with the Blackberry 10 update, things will get so much better. I really like the new flow and peek features, as well as the Hub. It makes things so much easier and convenient. It will definitely improve the experience by a substantial extent.”
Some users, however, worry the new software won’t run as well on old hardware.
“I like my PlayBook, I mostly use it for messaging purposes, not so much for other apps. For that I love the iPad,” says Harpreet Singh. “My only concern is if BB10, and the apps that will run on it, will prove to be useful on the old hardware.”
Another kicker: BlackBerry did not give a timeline to when users can expect the BB10 update. “I take any promise RIM makes on the [PlayBook] with a giant pinch of salt — No timeline? No expectations,” Ian Morrison said on Twitter.
As for future tablet endeavors, Heins also remained vague. “The way I look at tablet business right now, that segment is rather difficult. We are looking for specific value-added services on top of the tablet. Financial, health care… We want to have a value proposition,” he said.