Just a day after BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company would not be releasing another PlayBook tablet until the company could figure out how to differentiate its product and add value to consumers, another BlackBerry executive is now claiming that a PlayBook is already in development and will be released this year.
In an interview with Emirates 24/7, BlackBerry director of product management Mike Al Mefleh says that the company will be releasing six new BlackBerry devices this year and also a new BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
“We have a very clear road map. The company will launch six additional new devices in 2013.” It’s unclear if the executive means to say six total devices, or six additional BlackBerry 10 devices, adding to the already existing BlackBerry Z10.
And though the executive didn’t give specifics or a timeline for the tablet’s launch, other sources told the publication that the PlayBook successor could come as early as the end of the second quarter of this year, or by summer.
There is speculation that the tablet will use a larger 10-inch form factor, rather than the 7-inch display of the original PlayBook tablet.
According to other sources, the company might first release a BB10 update to the existing BlackBerry PlayBook and then release this all-new tablet, probably a 10-inch model specifically built to run BB10.
And given that BlackBerry had confirmed that it won’t be releasing any entry level Blackberry 10 devices, we’re potentially seeing a crowded space with 6 new high-end devices in a period of a year. Already, BlackBerry has announced the touchscreen-only BlackBerry Z10 and a device with a more traditional keyboard form factor in the form of the Q10. Additionally, a second touchscreen-only device with updated specs has been rumored recently to be coming to Sprint, so that leaves us with three new BlackBerry devices that are unaccounted for at this time.
At the time, then-RIM had rushed the PlayBook out of the gates. The device was met with tepid reception given that it lacked core apps like a calendar, contacts, and email app. Instead, the BlackBerry PlayBook relied on the web for most of its functionality. Through subsequent software updates, BlackBerry had added the missing PIM applications as well as support for running Android applications.
The PlayBook shares the same architecture as BlackBerry’s latest BlackBerry 10 operating system.