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Leaked Docs Point to Feb. 21 Release of RIM’s PlayBook 2.0

February 17, 2012

Research in Motion may release its second-generation operating system for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet next Tuesday. The Canadian smartphone maker is on the record as saying PlayBook 2.0 will debut this month and leaked internal documents published by Engadget Friday (below) point to Feb. 21 as the date it will happen.

The documents, which the tech blog said arrived via an anonymous source, also tip Feb. 21 as the release date for BlackBerry Mobile Fusion, a new platform that lets IT professionals manage the gamut of BlackBerry devices from a single interface. Management of devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems will be added in March.

The PlayBook 2.0 download will be made available at 4:01 a.m., though the time zone isn't specified in documents.

RIM is also locking down prices for new PlayBooks, according to one of the leaked detail sheets. The 16GB tablet is locked in at $199, the 32GB version at $249, and the 64GB edition at $299.

PlayBook 2.0 Leaked Doc

Native Email, BlackBerry Bridge Added

As anticipated (and as RIM demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year) the second-generation tablet OS delivers native email, contacts, and calendar—features missing from the PlayBook when it was first released last year. It also supports BlackBerry Bridge, the technology that allows a user to use a BlackBerry smartphone as a remote control device for manipulating the interface on a PlayBook.

The new software platform will also run Android apps natively.

An on-schedule release of PlayBook 2.0 could provide a boost for the beleaguered company. After a very rough 2011, RIM remains on the ropes following last month's news that long-time co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were stepping down amid a growing storm of shareholder discontent.

RIM's recent troubles include delays to the release of handsets running BlackBerry 10, the next-generation OS for the company's handsets that combines its current smartphone OS with the QNX operating system that runs its tablets.

It's reportedly been difficult for RIM to get some key software features to work in BB10, issues the company denies but which some critics have claimed point to poor software engineering. Since the PlayBook 2.0 platform has been described by the company as a kind of stepping stone from QNX to BB10, a successful release of the new tablet software could go a long way towards quelling such doubts.

Earlier this week, leaked photos of RIM's next-generation BB10 smartphones were published by CrackBerry.com. The handsets are expected to be released sometime in the fall.




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