RIM's 2.0 PlayBook Update (and Native Email) Delayed Until February

Research In Motion is writing the book on how not to compete with Apple's iPad. It's a three-step process that any tablet maker can follow, and it goes like this. Step 1: Launch an inferior tablet with missing features, but make sure they're big ones, like native email, contacts, and calendar support. Step 2: Promise an update is on the way and get everyone's hopes up. Step 3: Delay the update so that it won't arrive until more than a year after the tablet's release. Well, RIM just completed the third step today.

"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," RIM said in a statement.

It gets worse. When the OS update does finally ship -- and RIM is saying it will ship in February 2012 -- it still won't have all the features PlayBook owners were expecting. Native email, contacts, and calendar support will be included, but RIM said it decided to defer the inclusion of its BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) application to a subsequent release. Bummer.

It wasn't all bad news. RIM said it's providing developers with the gold release of the native SDK, so when it does finally launch, there should be some new apps available that take advantage of the updated feature-set. RIM also said it will be starting a series of closed betas of PlayBook OS 2.0 with select enterprise customers from its Early Adopter Program (EAP), which will be rolled out over the course of the year.