Playbook OS update delayed to 2012

The firmware update that will bring many features to the Blackberry Playbook that critics say should have been included in the first place, has been delayed to next year.

In a blog post, Research in Motion SVP David J. Smith wrote, “As much as we’d love to have it in your hands today, we’ve made the difficult decision to wait to launch BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 until we are confident we have fully met the expectations of our developers, enterprise customers and end-users.”

The Playbook received a lot of praise for its brand new, fresh operating system, strong multitasking capabilities, and the seamless use of touch-screen commands.

However, in the same breath it was also condemned for its utter lack of native support for key Blackberry features. That is, it doesn’t have built-in apps for e-mail, contact lists, Blackberry Messenger, or even a calendar. To activate those features, users need to pair a Blackberry phone, which eats away at the phone’s battery life and is useless for those who don’t have a Blackberry phone right next to the device.

So the key changes coming to Blackberry OS 2.0 will be the inclusion of that content so it can be natively accessed on the tablet.

All in all, the Playbook has done its job in that it breathed new life into RIM’s stale product line, and also pushed the company into changing the OS on its phones. Radical overhauls to the way Blackberry handsets operate will come in early 2012.

So there’s good reason to be cautiously optimistic about Blackberry right now. The key word, though, is “cautiously.”