Update: RIM has responded to reports that the BlackBerry PlayBook will be delayed because of battery concerns. Speaking to Erictric, the Canadian smartphone maker claimed:
“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.”
The specs of the BlackBerry PlayBook may have sounded good on paper, but they’re proving to be too much for the battery to handle. Recent reports say that the battery life of the RIM tablet is only a few hours, a hurdle that may cause RIM to bump the PlayBook’s initial early-2011 release back to May 2011.
The PlayBook’s OS, QNX, was not initially designed with tablets in mind, as pointed out by Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu, who first overheard the battery issues from PlayBook users. The QNX OS could be a contributing factor to the poor battery life.
“Keep in mind that QNX wasn’t originally designed for mobile environments, but rather for devices like network equipment and automobiles where battery life isn’t as much a constraint,” said Wu.
Cram QNX into a tablet along with a dual-core processor and a gigabyte of RAM and suddenly the weak battery life doesn’t seem so surprising.
This could pose serious problems for the PlayBook if RIM wants any chance of competing with the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Apple iPad, which get approximately 6 and 10 hours on a single charge, respectively.
The report notes that RIM may have to compromise the thin design to fit in a larger battery.