RIM’s PlayBook starts its second life today

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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.

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