But what it doesn’t do is still an outstanding issue: It lacks a native email client and doesn’t have the breadth of available applications found on competing devices. RIM had planned to address those issues in a software update last year, but it has been pushed out until February of this year. At CES, I finally got a look at the updated software, and the email app impressed me; you can see it in this video below. However, the Android app player was still a no-show in my demo.
Even if RIM addresses these software issues in February, there’s still a problem. Weak tablet sales aren’t going to entice developers to build apps for the PlayBook. Instead, mobile apps are appearing for the platforms that are selling well and offering a broad user base for potential app sales. Think iOS and Android here.
Another challenge? If RIM creates a 10-inch PlayBook it will compete directly against the best-selling tablet: Apple’s iPad.
With the 7-inch size, RIM has a differentiating factor, although it priced the smaller tablet at large tablet prices. By creating a 10-inch slate, RIM will have to have an answer to the same question 10-inch Android tablet makers have struggled with: Why buy this instead of an iPad, which has a stronger ecosystem?
BlackBerry Messenger isn’t the answer, and even if it was, an updated BBM client isn’t even in the BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 software. Consumers are buying low-cost tablets, so a 10-inch slate won’t likely meet their budgets; especially if it comes with an LTE data plan contract.