Research In Motion has finally made good on a promise to update its PlayBook operating system. The BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is available for release now, but does it really smooth out all the problems with the tablet device?
RIM execs promised an "enhanced" tablet experience with PlayBook OS 2.0 with a "range of new communications and productivity enhancements" and "extended app and content support." But industry analysts aren't so sure those enhancements and extensions are going to satisfy users, much less consumers.
"Where are the applications? That's my broken record for you," said Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner. "RIM needed to update the operating system in order to get people to use the PlayBook and hopefully accept it."
Although RIM has yet to update its hardware, the PlayBook OS 2.0 offers the much-anticipated integrated e-mail client. The new operating system gives users the option to tap a unified inbox that consolidates all messages in one place.
The BlackBerry Bridge has also been updated. This app connects the PlayBook and core apps on a BlackBerry smartphone via Bluetooth so users can view smartphone content on a tablet-sized screen. A new remote control feature, meanwhile, makes it possible to use a BlackBerry smartphone as a wireless keyboard and mouse for the PlayBook.
The PlayBook went on sale in April 2011. But it debuted with fundamental features missing, including a contacts database, a calendar, a chat application and a 3G or 4G connection, not to mention native e-mail.
"It's what the first PlayBook software should have been from a company which stakes its brand on messaging strength, with tightly integrated calendar, e-mail, and contacts," Frost & Sullivan analyst Craig Cartier told Reuters.
The PlayBook 2.0 built-in calendar pulls together information from social networks. Contact cards are also dynamically populated with updated information from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to create a consolidated view of contacts.
The new operating system updates document editing functions. There's a new Print To Go app, and increased control and manageability of corporate data with BlackBerry Balance. And an updated virtual keyboard with auto correction and predictive next word completion learns how you type to pave the way for faster, more accurate typing.
Catering to Enterprises
There are also thousands of new apps in the BlackBerry App World, and a new BlackBerry Video Store has been launched. Still, Disabato isn't satisfied with RIM's PlayBook progress.
In a move to cater to the enterprise market, BlackBerry also announced Mobile Fusion to support managing PlayBook tablets and BlackBerry smartphones. The full release is planned for general availability in March.
Time will tell if it's too little, too late for the PlayBook, with the Amazon Kindle Fire making waves and Apple reportedly readying to launch an iPad 3 and lower-cost iPad 2s.
Posted: 2012-02-22 @ 5:59am PT
RIM's PlayBook rocked without 2.0 upgrade!!!! Its better than iPad and Kindle.
Posted: 2012-02-21 @ 4:30pm PT
The download process is tooooooo slow!