Can RIM Get A Mulligan On Their Playbook Tablet?

Research In Motion (RIM) is going to try to earn a second chance for their ill-fated BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.

The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, running BlackBerry PlayBook OS, launched back in April 2011. The response it received was lackluster. Sales were poor.

It was pricey, but most tablets were back then (even though ‘back then’ wasn’t all that long ago). $500 for a version with 16 GB of storage, $600 for a version with 32 GB of storage, and $700 for a version with 64 GB of storage.

BlackBerry-PlayBookSpecs wise, the tablet looked good. The BlackBerry PlayBook has a 1 GHz dual core processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 7 inch touchscreen, 5 and 3 megapixel cameras, GPS, Wi-Fi, and decent battery life.

But what the tablet didn’t have were the things shoppers expected a BlackBerry device to have. Basic things. Like BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Email, Calendar and Contact applications. The tablet required a BlackBerry smartphone to actually run these applications, In some ways it acted more like a remote monitor/controller than a tablet. Oh, there were apps and things you could do with the tablet. Just not the things that make a BlackBerry a BlackBerry, at least as a stand-alone product.

At the time it was launched, shoppers were told there would be an update that would add these critical apps to the BlackBerry PlayBook. That update was to be pushed to the new tablets within 60 days. Then the update was pushed back into later in the summer. In the summer it was pushed back into the fall. In the fall it was pushed back to now.

Now is here. And RIM is indicating they are ready. N4BB is reporting that they have received confirmation (from unnamed sources) that the BlackBerry OS 2 update will be pushed to PlayBook tablets starting February 21.

BlackBerry OS 2 is said to have most, but not all, of the features shoppers felt were missing the first time around. The one thing it won’t have is BlackBerry Messaging, though BBM will still be available through a bridge to the smart phone. Interestingly, after the update, the PlayBook is rumored to have the ability to run Android apps.

In the meantime, the price of the BlackBerry PlayBook has been seriously reduced. In November, the price of the PlayBook dropped to $199 for the 16 GB version, $249 for the 32 GB version, and $299 for the 64 GB version. BlackBerry senior brand manager Jeff Gadway recently said shoppers should stay tuned for more pricing news, so those might change.

With the added features, and a reduced price, can RIM spark interest in a year old tablet that didn’t sale well the first time around?

Does it spark your interest?

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.