RIM has been pretty open about the possibility of releasing a bigger version of their BlackBerry PlayBook tablet to compete more directly with the iPad, but word has it they’ve canned development on the project, and are shifting work to a 4.3-inch smartphone. We hadn’t heard much about the next PlayBook, other than it might be 4G-only, but that’s about it. The spare manpower does mean that RIM can push harder to get an HSPA+/LTE 7-inch PlayBook out the door a little more quickly.
The biggest screen we’re expecting on an upcoming BlackBerry is 3.7 inches, so this model is something new. The source claims the handset will have a single-core 1.2 GHz processor like many of the upcoming OS 7 products. Unfortunately, that means we won’t be seeing the leap to QNX on this one since the OS require a dual-core processors.
It’s easy to feel like RIM’s efforts in the tablet world will sputter out if they don’t have any immediate plans for a follow-up to the PlayBook, but to be honest the software platform could still use some time to mature. App selection has been growing slowly and steadily, but there still isn’t a native development kit publicly available, and basic stuff like a stand-alone native e-mail app is yet to be seen. Maybe once QNX has had some time to grow up on BlackBerry smartphones early next year, RIM will be able to tackle tablets again.