Research in Motio won't be upgrading the software on its PlayBook tablet until February 2012.  The announcement was the latest in a string of delays following a promise by co-CEO Jim Balsillie that the company will add native email and other features within 60 days of its launch earlier this year.  The update was subsequently pushed back to August, and then to October.

"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," wrote David J. Smith, SVP for BlackBerry PlayBook in a blog entry.

Smith was quick to point out that a beta of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 has been launched, and is currently in closed testing with some of the company's enterprise customers.  Feedback and improvements from these betas will ultimately benefit the BlackBerry PlayBook experience, says Smith.

The news was met with strong reactions with a scattering of comments voicing support for RIM's decision to "get it right."  On the most part however, many readers who proclaimed themselves as BlackBerry users have voiced frustration and even anger at the shifting goalposts where the availability of promised features are concerned.

"We've all be fed a pack of lies since launch of the device, I wasted £300 on the promise of Native Email, Android Player and DLNA by the end of summer….now 2012….when will the delays end 2013?" wrote a frustrated user named Matt in response to the announcement.

The decision to delay the PlayBook OS update appears to reflect a new strategy of slowing everything down in order to release a properly polished product out the door.  While PlayBook 1.0 was reasonably polished, it paled in several areas against competing tablets.  Moreover, the repeated delays and missteps are doing nothing for the confidence of existing users.

Moving forward, there appears to be some apprehension about what RIM intends to do in the tablet space.  A report on TechNewsWorld cited supply chain contacts that RIM does not appear to have production plans beyond 2011, a telling sign that the company is either in an internal state of chaos or has way too much unsold stock.

On the other hand, given that its top competitors are using the same platform for both their smartphones and tablets offerings – think Apple iOS and the recently unveiled Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, quitting the tablet space certainly isn't a viable option for RIM.

Source: BlackBerry blog