Limited apps and battery woes may delay tablet until Q2 2011

With much of Research In Motion's future hinging on the success of its upcoming tablet, the PlayBook, the latest news that the device has been delayed to the second quarter of 2011 because of poor battery life cannot help the Blackberry maker.

According to eWeek, a report from Kaufman Bros. has determined that poor battery life is the cause for RIM pushing the launch of the tablet back. 

"We hear that the PlayBook needs to improve [its] relatively poor battery life of a few hours compared to 6 hours for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and 10 hours for the iPad," Kaufman analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a Dec. 28 research note. "From our understanding, this could require a bit of re-engineering."

Part of the poor battery performance is thanks to the QNX-based OS that the device runs, which was designed for network equipment and automobiles, "where battery life isn’t as much a constraint," Wu writes.

Added to the battery woes are reports that developers are uncertain about supporting both the QNX-based OS for the PlayBook and the newly minted BlackBerry 6 OS, particularly when others are consolidating around Android and iOS. QNX has not proven to be all that attractive. It may help when it replaces the OS on RIM's BlackBerry handsets, but that is still a far off prospect. 

RIM also lacks content support for movies, television, e-books, Wu writes. He predicts the PlayBook to sell a lackluster 700,000 units in 2011, thanks more to the overall dominance of the iPad in the tablet market.

RIM, however, was quick to dispute Wu's claims, putting out the following statement late yesterday:

Any testing or observation of battery life to date by anyone outside of RIM would have been performed using pre-beta units that were built without power management implemented. RIM is on track with its schedule to optimize the BlackBerry PlayBook’s battery life and looks forward to providing customers with a professional grade tablet that offers superior performance with comparable battery life.

An official announcement of the PlayBook's launch date has not been made.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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