Is RIM's PlayBook Worth Waiting for?

When was the last time Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) had any good news to announce? This isn't just a rhetorical question; I actually can't remember. The only remotely positive news of late was when shareholders demanded changes, if you can consider that positive.

The latest addition to the company's string of negative announcements is that its PlayBook OS 2.0 is seeing continued unexpected delays and won't see the light of day until February of next year. The PlayBook has been the poster child of RIM's ineptitude, and the news only prolongs that perception. We're talking about a tablet that, while meant for the company's core business and enterprise users, doesn't have native email, contacts, or calendar apps.

The 2.0 version is set to include those critical apps, but the company has changed its tune with its popular BlackBerry Messenger app and won't be included until future releases. So the handful of PlayBook owners who bought the tablet when launched it in April will have to wait a full 10 months for basic productivity apps. That's assuming the OS isn't delayed again.

RIM had initially promised those basic features within two months of release before pushing the time frame back to October, and now February is the date to mark on your calendar -- which you can't do on the PlayBook.

The company recently announced its ambitious new unified BBX operating system alongside a PlayBook OS 2.0 beta that includes Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android support, only to get slapped with a trademark infringement suit. This came shortly after its worst service outage in the company's history.

By February, chances are Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) will be arming its iPad 3 for battle, and Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN  ) may also be lighting up a Kindle Fire 2 in that time frame.

Sorry, RIM, but your ship has sailed. Your PlayBook just isn't worth waiting for.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Amazon.com and Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 3:58 PM, realMikecart1 wrote:

    I've been saying this for a few years now: RIM is toast.

    The writing is on the wall. People who still can't see it are terribly blind.

    Thompson

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 4:11 PM, etgh wrote:

    The article touches on the issues but in the end, is not quite accurate.

    The whole issue is how to aggregate the email, calendars and contacts so that all the customer's devices are kept in sync. No other vendor is tackling this complexity as they simply keep different versions on the separate devices. RIM's goal is once you connect ANY RIM device, changes are reflected in all devices. This is probably a result of CIO's pushing for full integration and not just hanging more dispirit devices off the network.

    Once these features are added, it will make the Playbook a full standalone device much like the iPad. In my view, they should have produced a consumer version, without the synchronization in order to capture some of the iPad market.

    However, it seems RIM has decided to take the more complicated full featured route.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 4:15 PM, devcellent wrote:

    Despite the negativity, a new mobile app, Email ++ for BlackBerry email is doing well. We need more apps for BlackBerry devices to make BlackBerry a popular device among consumers other than just the corporate users.

    http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/58884

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 6:54 PM, sinnersun wrote:

    Evan, I liked POTC's take on Tablet PCs, RIMM, AMZN, and AAPL. http://psychologyofthecall.blogspot.com

    Let me know. Frank with POTC.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 8:48 PM, H3D wrote:

    @etgh

    Sorry but iPhone and iPad do fully synced email, calendars and contacts already.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2011, at 11:30 PM, etgh wrote:

    @H3D

    Apple only syncs with the desktop as a manual exercise and not automatically with a remote server.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 2:07 AM, youngblood58 wrote:

    Every time I hear someone tout RIMM's apps or other new products, I just think, really? No one's buying it.

    I'm not going to say RIMM is toast, but I don't see a turnaround anytime soon and wouldn't even consider buying into this stock until it hits $15/share.

    No sooner.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 9:56 AM, infektu wrote:

    "the handful" 700k PlayBook owners bought it because they had a BB handset -- that is all the "basic productivity apps" and then some more.

    Either that or they don't care for an email client, they liked the 7" form factor or the build, or the HDMI or whatever.

    In any case, the PB does today what it did in April and then some more. All of them are just as satisfied as in day 1 and from reading crackberry.com most of them will wait for the upgrade.

    It makes sense, people don't buy $500 stuff on promises.

    To get this straight:

    I'm not saying that this tablet is better than that other tablet, but this continuous whining on "features" is pathetic. Buy whatever product for whatever resons and stick with it. Trying to predict what people will buy and in what quantities is dicey to say the least.

    Even more so when it's based on anecdotal evidence.

    As for the icloud... other than being a bandwidth pig it has not addressed "philosophical" issues like f.i. whether two persons sharing an itunes account will have reciprocal visibility on other things... As to its first outage one has to wait for "a critical mass" of users.

    Can't tell you when, most likely after the first hack.

    And we shall see how do their customers treat it :-)

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2011, at 12:39 PM, realMikecart1 wrote:

    @ETGH

    Re: your statement "Apple only syncs with the desktop as a manual exercise and not automatically with a remote server."

    Do you make a habit of acting like an authority on things when you don't really know what you are talking about. You are utterly incorrect, and so you make yourself look like a fool (with a lowercase "f".)

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2011, at 12:56 PM, Thompr97 wrote:

    This...

    <RIM is not toast. Anyone that says this is delusional.>

    followed by this...

    <The Playbook is the best tablet on the market. Hands down.>

    is hilarious! Talk about delusional.

    Thompson

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