One of the most anticipated tablets of 2011 is Research In Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook, just don't expect it to be the iPad killer anti-iOS fans have been waiting for, at least not at launch. A leaked internal document making the rounds reveals that the PlayBook with ship with several key features missing, including support for email, contacts, and messaging. To use them, you'll need to link up with a BlackBerry smartphone, or use a Web browser.
The leaked document is a BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ, and one of the questions asks, "Will apps such as email, contacts, calendar, etc. be available natively on BlackBerry PlayBook?" The answer, in full, reads:
"The BlackBerry PlayBook can be used in conjunction with a BlackBerry smartphone or it can be used on its own (i.e standalone).
"The BlackBerry Bridge feature creates a secure Bluetooth link between a BlackBerry PlayBook tablet and BlackBerry smartphone allowing BlackBerry smartphone users to view and interact with the email, BBM, and PIM apps on the BlackBerry smartphone using the larger BlackBerry PlayBook screen.
"In addition, users can access their email via the BlackBerry PlayBook's Web browser without any need for a BlackBerry smartphone.
"In a future software update for the BlackBerry PlayBook, we will also provide native email, calendar, and contact apps for those customers who prefer to have these apps directly on the tablet."
Wired's interpretation of this is that RIM is rushing the tablet to market and is willing to cut corners in order to put an iPad rival out in the wild. There might be some truth to that, or perhaps native email is further off than RIM would like to admit. Whatever the reason, we view this as a big gamble for RIM, one that isn't likely to pay off. The way to compete with the iPad is to implement features that Apple doesn't -- like USB ports, SD card slot, etc -- rather than strip away core functionality found on every major tablet out there.