RIM PlayBook 2.0 update: Better late than never

RIM released the PlayBook 2.0 update with integrated email, integrated calendar, a movie store, and support for Android apps in the BlackBerry App World.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

I agree with Larry that the PlayBook 2.0 update likely won't generate a ton of new sales and make the PlayBook a huge success, but then again I am planning to pick one up for myself again. I've complained about the delay in the 2.0 update and wish it would have came earlier and I hope the delay means it is perfect. I am not a BlackBerry smartphone owner, but I am a huge fan of the 7 inch tablet form factor and loved the design and user interface on the PlayBook when I owned one. At $199 for a 16GB model, I think that the PlayBook with the 2.0 update is as compelling of a choice for a tablet as the Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook Tablet, or Samsung Galaxy Tabs.

One of the primary missing features from the PlayBook has always been stand alone email so you needed a BlackBerry smartphone to even use the device for email. With the new PlayBook OS 2.0 update you now get an email client and from what I understand it is even Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync enabled, which is something I need since I don't have a BES at work. As stated in the press release, the updated new features really make the PlayBook a new device and include the following:

  • Integrated email client with a powerful unified inbox: With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 you have the option to use a unified inbox that consolidates all messages in one place, including messages from Facebook®, LinkedIn® and Twitter®, as well as personal and work email accounts.
  • Social Integration with Calendar and Contacts apps: The built-in calendar harnesses information from social networks and makes it available where and when users need it. Contact cards are also dynamically populated with updated information from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to create a consolidated view of contacts.
  • Updated BlackBerry Bridge app: BlackBerry® Bridge™ is a unique app that provides a Bluetooth® connection between your BlackBerry PlayBook and core apps on your BlackBerry® smartphone (including BBM™, Email, Contacts, Calendar and Browser) in order to let you view the content on the larger tablet display. With BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, it’s easier and quicker than ever to take documents, web pages, emails and photos that appear on your BlackBerry smartphone and display them on your BlackBerry PlayBook for an optimized viewing and editing experience. The updated BlackBerry Bridge app also provides a new remote control feature that allows a BlackBerry smartphone to be used as a wireless keyboard and mouse for a BlackBerry PlayBook.
  • Improved mobile productivity: Updated document editing functions, the new Print To Go app, and increased control and manageability of corporate data with BlackBerry® Balance ™ allow you to get more out of your BlackBerry PlayBook every day. Plus, an updated virtual keyboard with auto correction and predictive next word completion learns how you type to enable faster, more accurate typing.
  • New apps and content: Thousands of new apps are being added to BlackBerry App World™ today (including a range of Android® apps that will run on the BlackBerry PlayBook). A new BlackBerry Video Store1 is launching today. Enhanced web browsing capabilities are also available with BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.

I plan to pick up a PlayBook soon and want to do a walkthrough with the new software. The fact that I can get email, run Android apps, and now get movies through an integrated store may just propel the PlayBook up to my number one 7 inch tablet.

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