Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RIM finally delivers PlayBook OS 2.0: native email, calendar, contacts, but is it too late?

The word "finally" is so overdue, that it is hard to use it without shaking one's head. RIM has finally released its BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0 update, including features that many said should have been included in the tablet's initial software load.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 now includes a native e-mail client with a unified inbox, along with built-in calendar and contacts applications. Indeed, for a device coming from a company that's all about messaging and PIM, it's hard to understand why these were not released at the very start, although technical issues between BES and the QNX platform that RIM switched to for the new device were reportedly tough to overcome.

That said, there's still a big missing piece, and it's one that keeps the company's smartphones popular with some groups: BlackBerry Messenger, which allows users to securely instant-message each other, but which is restricted to BlackBerry-only devices, is still MIA.

BlackBerry Bridge, which allows users to connect their BlackBerry smartphone to their PlayBook, has been updated to include a remote control feature, allowing owners to use their handsets as a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Interestingly enough, folks have played around with the new Bridge functionality and discovered it can be used on non-BB hardware, as well, including Android devices and PS3s.

Finally, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 includes support for "some" Android applications.

The new BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0 is available as a free download.

We think, however, it's too little, too late for the PlayBook. Whether or not RIM still has enough time to recover, overall, remains to be seen.

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