Research in Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook just isn’t getting the love from wireless carriers.
In the United Kingdom, O2 has scrapped plans to carry the 7-inch tablet, reportedly telling customers that “there are some issues with the end to end customer experience.” O2 hasn’t ruled out selling the PlayBook down the line and may work with RIM on future PlayBook products, but confirmed to Engadget that it has no plans to sell the PlayBook at this time.
In general, carriers have responded to the PlayBook with mixed reactions. Verizon Wireless said in April that it’s “still evaluating” whether it wants to sell the tablet, and T-Mobile hasn’t commented on the matter. Only Sprint has committed to selling the PlayBook, but has delayed its launch several times.
It’s not clear exactly why wireless carriers haven’t warmed to RIM’s tablet, but it’s easy to guess a few reasons: The tablet lacks native e-mail and calendar apps, which could be a big turnoff to customers, and there aren’t a lot of third-party apps available right now.
Also, the PlayBook’s BlackBerry Bridge feature, which lets users tether their BlackBerry phones to check e-mail, messages and calendar, undermines carriers’ ability to sell additional data plans for tablets. That may explain why AT&T blocked the Bridge app on its BlackBerry phones.
I hope RIM can eventually turn the PlayBook. Despite its early woes, I like how it uses finger swipes for navigation, and it’s the only tablet that can truly run apps in the background without suspending them or shutting them down. But at the moment, I don’t blame carriers for holding off.
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