BlackBerry PlayBook software upgrade available, finally

News Stacy Warden 12:39, Feb 21 2012

RIM rolls out long overdue PlayBook OS 2.0 upgrade

If you were one of the few (and we mean few) to pick up a BlackBerry PlayBook when it first hit shelves back in April, it probably didn’t take you long to realize that the tablet was missing a good deal of useful stuff. Most notably not on that list was native email and BlackBerry Messenger.

The obvious lack of such important features instantly tarnished the PlayBook, and eventually contributed to Research In Motion slashing its prices significantly (which may have helped drive sales in Canada).

Today, RIM is hoping to butter up critics with a long overdue software upgrade. The new BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 will finally feature built-in email (something critics argue it should have had straight off the bat). And this time around, RIM has even gone so far as to acknowledge its other shortcomings, like those in the app department. As a result, version 2.0 enables users to run Android apps on the BlackBerry tablet.

Other notable features of OS 2.0 include an updated keyboard with more accurate text-prediction (believed to be the work of SwiftKey, but no official word on that) and a number row that sits neatly above the letters when filling out fields. Video-chat capabilities have also been improved, along with an updated BlackBerry Bridge for sharing content between smartphone and tablet.

As a bonus, PlayBook users can look forward to a new BlackBerry video store and enhanced web browsing. Oh, and we should mention that the device runs on RIM’s new QNX-based OS, and it’s looking like the groundwork for the first QNX-based BlackBerry, due to launch in the later part of 2012. 

If all goes well, this could be the boost RIM needs to put it back in competition with Apple and Android devices. The company’s PlayBook sales last year were a mere drop in the bucket compared to Apple’s iPad (850,000 PlayBooks to 15.4 million iPads). On a more positive note, shares of RIM, which have dropped to a near 80-percent over the last year, were up 10-cents Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Via: intomobile

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