BlackBerry’s newest edition, the BlackBerry Playbook went on sale April 19th, getting a snub from both AT&T, Verizon.
More than two days after the PlayBook debuted, two of the largest U.S. wireless carriers announced they are still unsure about offering some of the tablet’s features, or perhaps selling the device at all.
Despite RIM’s initial expectations, Verizon seems to be on the fence about carrying the PlayBook. Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney was quoted as saying the following: “We are still evaluating the Blackberry Playbook and have not made a determination as to whether or not we’re going to distribute it.”
AT&T, on the other hand, is already selling the device, however, it’s not offering a key functionality: BlackBerry Bridge, the software needed to get email on the tablet. To no surprise, customers are outraged. BlackBerry Bridge works as a tether for the PlayBook, allowing it to get on the Internet. Tethering is something for which carriers like to charge extra. Since the BlackBerry Bridge software is designed as a one-time purchase, there’s no data plan required –and the carriers don’t seem happy. Privately, various wireless carriers have stated they don’t have a problem with the PlayBook at all, only with the limited amount of time they were given to test and review the product. That being said, it’s unlikely that Verizon or AT&T – who collectively have the largest number of BlackBerry users on the planet – will decide not to support the PlayBook or certain key features.
Although I haven’t gotten my hands on the PlayBook just yet, early reports suggest it’s no iPad 2 killer –but I’ll save that discussion for another post.