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Summary:

Research In Motion delivered a major software update for its PlayBook tablet with the release of PlayBook OS 2.0. The upgrade brings overlooked features to RIM’s tablet, which has so far faced relatively poor sales and generally negative reviews. Is it too little, too late?

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Research In Motion delivered a major software update for its PlayBook tablet on Tuesday with the release of PlayBook OS 2.0. The upgrade brings overlooked features to RIM’s tablet, which has so far faced relatively poor sales and generally negative reviews. In addition to new applications and features, RIM is also launching a new video store for PlayBook users in the U.S.

A quick rundown of what’s in the second iteration of the PlayBook software includes:

  • Built-in email, calendar and contacts that integrate social networking from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter
  • New BlackBerry Bridge features that turn a BlackBerry smartphone into a keyboard and mouse for the PlayBook
  • Print To Go and updated other document and productivity features
  • Support for a select number of approved Google Android applications

Last month at the Consumer Electronics Show, I got a first look at the new PlayBook OS 2.0 and liked what I saw. The unified inbox and mail features looked stellar, as did the social integration hooks in the applications. The updated BlackBerry Bridge with remote control features worked as advertised, but I’m not sold that many will use their smartphone as a wireless keyboard for long.

I’ll be getting the updated software on a PlayBook shortly to spend some time looking at the fruits of RIM’s labor. I’m especially curious to see how many Android applications are available; partially because I’m a daily Android user, but also because RIM is lacking when it comes to the breadth and depth of its app store.

Since I haven’t used the updated operating system yet, I can’t say if this is too little, too late for RIM just yet, but had RIM delivered these functions with the initial PlayBook, I think its sales numbers would have looked twice as good.

  1. Hopefully Rim will be more successful with its tablet as it hasn’t been doing well

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  2. James Be Grahame Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    I bought the Playbook before xmas because this update was coming. Downloaded it this morning (took about 15 minutes plus reboot time) and got my email, calendar and social media accounts running in short order.

    The unified email seems really slick – it defaults to showing all accounts, but you can easily filter to a single account if desired. Nice to finally have a predictive keyboard, too.

    I think this update will make existing users very happy, and it positions the Playbook as the bargain tablet of early 2012. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how things play out from now on. *If* the company gains a bit of traction and can get the top hundred or so Android apps (the ones that everyone really uses) into App World, the platform could have a good run.

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  3. I don’t know why the Playbook gets bad reviews. I love it’s Size! I love Flash working on it. I LVOE it’s User Experience based on multitasking, i love flicking the app upwards to close, I love moving from opened App to another by flicking from the side.

    Often when I go back to my iPad (previously for the email), I wish it had some of those features.

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    1. Hi @Georges,

      Ty from RIM here. Happy to hear you’re enjoying your PlayBook! It’s portable 7-inch size and ability to handle true multitasking, which allows several apps to run simultaneously at full-speed – not suspended – in the background, really makes me more productive. PlayBook 2.0 also delivers an enhanced messaging experience that gives you tight email and social integration for any email account, combining your email and social messages together in a unified inbox for easy viewing.

      If you haven’t already downloaded the OS 2.0 update, stop by our Inside BlackBerry Blog and learn how to today: http://bbry.lv/yqiDz2.

      Cheers,

      Ty, RIM Social Media Team

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      1. :) Still no BBM, Skype. where is android apps are ported ?

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  4. My biggest disappointment when reviewing the original PlayBook, other than lack of PIM support, was the limited BT tethering with only BlackBerry equipment. It would have been nice being able to move files between the slate and a PC without having to use a silly cable. I don’t suppose you could check, Kevin, if that has improved?

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  5. Great update. At $199/- for 16gb, it’s the best tablet in the market. It’s worth much more. Its the media and the ignorance of a regular consumer. This update will definitely boost playbook sales.

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  6. BlackBerry OS 2.0 is good but OS 3.0 coming later this year will be even better. BBM support will be added. RIM can gain tablet share if it work on its tablet marketing right now and show all these new features. Looking forward to PlayBook 3G and PlayBook 2 (http://harryminhas.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/blackberry-playbook-2/) coming later this year (LTE support and 10-inch screen).

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