RIM's PlayBook OS 2.0 brings some new (and much-needed) features to the tablet, while keeping the same basic user experience.
Motions BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is a fairly extensive upgrade to the
PlayBooks software, but the resulting user experience isnt radically
different from the one offered in the tablets original version.
PlayBook OS 2.0 includes a number of features demanded by users ever since the
7-inch tablet made its debut in April 2011. With the upgrade, PlayBook users
now have access to built-in email, calendar and contacts apps. A new reading
view for the Web browser offers a streamlined way to read online news articles
or Websites with large amounts of text.
owners, an update to BlackBerry Bridge (a feature that lets users view
BlackBerry content on the PlayBooks larger screen) lets them use their
handheld as a wireless keyboard and mouse for the tablet.
In a bid to
appeal more broadly to consumers, PlayBook OS 2.0 also comes with a Video Store
(complete with movies for rent or purchase) and Music Store. However, the
business users who constitute one of RIMs strongest customer segments might
better appreciate the newfound ability to integrate their social-network data
with their calendar and contacts, not to mention rich-text tools with email.
anythings going to spur PlayBook sales, itll be a robust apps ecosystem. To
that end, RIM has been encouraging developers to build apps for the PlayBook.
In turn, a larger ecosystem comes with a significant side benefit for the
company: Given how its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system will rely on the
same QNX code base as the PlayBook, any apps built now for the tablet will port
over easily (at least in theory) to the smartphones due sometime in late 2012.
And BlackBerry 10 will need all the apps it can get, if it wants to compete
toe-to-toe with Apples iPhone and the large family of Google Android devices.
With all these
features now in place, the PlayBook certainly feels like a more complete
device. Those who liked the PlayBook before the update can take comfort in a
familiar-but-enhanced interface. But its still up in the air whether potential
owners will opt for the PlayBookno matter how newly robustover an iPad or
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.