Tomorrow we will finally get a chance to try out the new Blackberry Playbook 2.0, but we already have a bit of a surprise regarding its features. According to an advertisement that seems to have inadvertently been slipped onto Best Buy’s Canadian site, for the first time ever Playbook users will have their own Kindle app. There is a great deal of speculation at the moment over whether or not the Blackberry Tablet OS 2.0 update (now Blackberry Playbook OS) will be what makes the brand relevant again after their abrupt decline in recent years, and this would definitely be a good sign.
While many reports are taking it as a given at this point that the native Kindle app will ship with the hardware, there is still plenty of reason to be skeptical. One of the big features of the update is that it will allow Android developers to easily port their apps for use on the Playbook. Given that opportunity, it is easier to see Amazon just converting their Kindle for Android offering than making the effort to develop native software for an operating system with a comparatively narrow user base and uncertain future.
It is also possible, given the phrasing of the advertisement that has spurred all of this speculation, that it meant nothing more than that Playbook users will be able to make use of the Kindle Cloud Reader web app. The exact lines in question read:
“Plug in to BlackBerry App World and read, write and game like never before. With thousands of apps for every use, you’ll never run out of new and exciting options. Pick up Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, read the latest magazines, or connect online with Facebook and Twitter apps. With access to Kobo and Kindle, you can enjoy new late night reading without ever leaving your living room.”
While this says there should really be something, it doesn’t rule out any of the options. The current Twitter “app”, for example, is simply a link that takes users to their web interface. Since the language in question has since been removed it may even have been in error completely, but this wouldn’t be the first time that early leaks like this turned out to be accurate.
There has been a series of announcements about RIM’s policies with regard to apps, including imported Android apps, that lead some to question the ongoing viability of the platform. When the tablets finally start getting out to the public it will be more possible to gauge their impact on the market as a whole. For those Blackberry fans who pick up the new Playbook, however, it is definitely good news that there will be some method for accessing Kindle libraries. With luck, this will be the start of a resurgence of the Blackberry line as a major contender in the smartphone and tablet markets. More competition generally means better products for everybody. The Kindle Fire is my current favorite for the price, but nothing is ever perfect.