BlackBerry PlayBook 2 confirmed for 2013 launch

News Richard Goodwin 17:18, 19 Mar 2013

BlackBerry 10-powered PlayBook 2 confirmed by company exec

Looks like we might be seeing the PlayBook 2 launched in 2013 after all, despite BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins’ claims to the contrary.

Mike Al Mefleh, BlackBerry’s director of product management, is believed to have told reporters at the company’s Dubai BlackBerry User's Forum to expect a new PlayBook – alongside six new handsets – in 2013.

Will it be the oft-leaked 10-inch PlayBook device? Perhaps, although BlackBerry could of course stick to what it knows and release a 7-inch slate, one that takes the fight direct to Google’s Nexus 7 and Apple’s iPad Mini.

So what about the existing PlayBook? Isn’t that supposed to be getting BB10? Yes it is, although BlackBerry has been pretty cagey about the subject when approached by Know Your Mobile.

Fortunately, CrackBerry can shed some light on the subject:

‘One source at the forum said we would see a BlackBerry 10 update to the existing PlayBook before this new one was released, and another source suggested we could see the device as early as the end of Q2.’

Make of that what you will.

As for the six handsets, initial reports ahead of the BB10 launch event suggested that BlackBerry would launch multiple handsets in 2013 aimed at hitting all three major price points: high, middle, and entry. And most assumed these devices would be BB10-powered.

But that’s not the case. Instead, the company is sticking with its existing range of Curve smartphones for the time being. BlackBerry European MD Stephen Bates told Tech Radar the following:

‘We've brought out these high-end devices as a as a statement of intent - to demonstrate vividly the new BlackBerry.’

He added: ‘But we don't see us getting to the entry-level tier for some time; certainly not this year. Based on the great sales we've had over Christmas in the UK there is a demand for the entry level BlackBerry and we don't want to give that up so we're going to continue with Curve and the entry level as we bring BlackBerry 10 down through the mid-tier and eventually into the entry level.’

So BB10 on the cheap is coming, just not this year. Although BlackBerry is known for saying one thing – we’re not doing another PlayBook – and then changing its mind again – see Mefleh’s above comment – so we’re not writing anything off just yet.  

More news as we get it.

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