BlackBerry tablet update fixes Flash but nothing else

A new update for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook OS adds the latest version for Adobe Flash, but native e-mail and other apps are still missing in action.


Research In Motion has pushed out an update for its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet with the latest version of Flash but still no native e-mail or instant messaging, at least not yet.

Described yesterday in the official BlackBerry blog, the new BlackBerry Tablet OS version 1.07.3312 offers a security fix to the Flash Player that Adobe rolled out on September 21. Available now for all PlayBook users, the new BlackBerry update can be downloaded over the air.

As usual, PlayBook owners will receive a message notifying them of the new update, or they can manually check for it under Software Updates in the settings menu. Customers who buy a PlayBook as of yesterday will automatically receive the latest Adobe Flash Player already installed.

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Though it's a good sign that RIM is keeping up with security patches, the latest PlayBook update is still missing some long overdue features, including native e-mail, instant messaging, contacts, and calendaring. Ever since launching its tablet without such programs, RIM has been promising tablet owners an upgrade that would deliver those key apps. PlayBook users are still waiting, however, the wait may just about be over.

At the second-quarter earnings call last month, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie revealed that the long-awaited BlackBerry 2.0 software should reach consumers sometime after the BlackBerry DevCon conference later this month. Version 2.0 is set to include all those native apps now missing in action, along with an Android app player and a video store.

But will version 2.0 be too late to stem the tide of sluggish tablet sales?

Analysts recently trimmed their forecasts on PlayBook shipments for the year around the same time that RIM said it would trim the price of the tablet. Those price cuts have started to trickle into the retail market, especially after Amazon revealed its $199 Kindle Fire tablet. Best Buy, for example, is now selling all three models of the PlayBook (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) for $200 less than their initial prices.

RIM recently reported that its second-quarter earnings had been chopped in half, compared with a year ago as the company continues to face a mobile market dominated by Apple and Android.

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