BlackBerry PlayBook software gets major upgrade

February 21, 2012

Research in Motion announced Tuesday that the BlackBerry PlayBook’s operating system has received a huge upgrade. The Post’s Hayley Tsukayama reports :

Research in Motion announced Tuesday that it has released an upgrade to its BlackBerry PlayBook operating system, finally bringing a native e-mail client to its 7-inch tablet after nearly a year on the market.

In a company blog post, RIM’s senior vice president of mobile computing, David J. Smith, said that “the features I’m most excited about with this launch are built-in email, calendar and contacts.” The e-mail client has a unified inbox, but the operating system still lacks some of the functionality you might expect from BlackBerry. The PlayBook still has no access to BlackBerry Messenger, RIM’s instant-messaging service.

The BlackBerry maker also announced that it has updated its BlackBerry Bridge software and unveiled its BlackBerry Video Store. The Verge reports:

RIM also updated the BlackBerry Bridge software the PlayBook uses to communicate with BlackBerry Smartphones. It allows users to make their smartphones "remotes" for the PlayBook, with input from the keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen all in tow. Interestingly, the remote capabilities work with many devices — including the PS3 console and Android tablets like the HTC Flyer and Motorola Xoom — that support the Bluetooth HID profile.

Today also sees the release of the BlackBerry Video Store in the US and "thousands of new apps" in the BlackBerry App World including a selection of Android apps that run on the PlayBook. RIM's also releasing an initial version of BlackBerry Mobile Fusion for the management of BB smartphones and tablets in enterprise settings.

The 505MB download of the version 2.0.0.7971 update is available now via the PlayBook's Software Updates menu.

But news of the operating system’s latest features is nothing new, VentureBeat.com reports:

The update’s new features don’t come as much of a surprise, as RIM has been discussing many of them for months. They deliver tight integration between the tablet and BlackBerry phones that will be welcome to the handful of PlayBook owners out there, though there’s still no excuse for why it took RIM almost a full year to release the features. Even worse, the update was originally supposed to land last fall, but RIM delayed it to this month.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 won’t likely win the tablet many new converts, especially with the iPad 3 only a few weeks away, but it represents a glimmer of hope for those who have bet on RIM.

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