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RIM blew it: No BlackBerry PlayBook, phones today

RIM stays silent on the successor to the BlackBerry PlayBook at its annual developer conference.

Mike Laziridis
Mike Laziridis addresses the crowd at BlackBerry DevCon 2011. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

RIM blew a chance to re-energize developers and BlackBerry consumers by announcing new smartphones and tablets at its annual BlackBerry Developers Conference today in San Francisco.

RIM's founder, president, and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis proudly unveiled BBX--the next-generation marriage of its QNX-plus-BlackBerry OS operating system for future devices--but failed to connect vague descriptions of the forthcoming platform with real-life devices.

There was a smattering of demos, some technical details, and a lot of hot air when it came to describing the benefits of BBX, but none of the concrete details, like release dates or a glimpse of a tangible product, that could jazz a developer to code long into the night.

In fact, the BBX OS isn't even available to developers yet; this time around it'll be called BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.

It's too bad that RIM didn't at least share a list of specs or a teaser photo to give us something to sink our teeth into, never mind a demo device. After all, the very same CEO stirred things up last year when introducing the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet at the very same conference.

While BlackBerry DevCon wasn't traditionally a major venue for RIM product announcements before 2010, last year's precedent set this year's expectation. Although given that the PlayBook flopped so spectacularly that retailers are holding fire sales to move the stale inventory, it's understandable that RIM may want to wait to release substantial software upgrades rather than rushing face-first into another financial blunder.

What RIM did make clear is that the next PlayBook will have an enterprise version of the BlackBerry App World, in addition to a host of development tools meant to convince Android developers to port their apps and games in larger quantity. We also know that RIM is going to take another stab at the PlayBook, assuming the company keeps its footing in the months to come.

"We're absolutely committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook," co-CEO Lazaridis told the crowd. "No doubt."