Research In 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.
Certainly 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.
For BlackBerry 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.
But if 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 Android tablet.