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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0

Remember the BlackBerry PlayBook? Research in Motion’s tablet stirred up quite a bit of hype last year, only to land with a thud. Now it’s getting a new breath of life, though at this point I can’t imagine anyone cares.

RIM announced today that it has released the first major update for the tablet, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0, which adds some very basic features it should have had from the beginning, including a built-in e-mail client, calendar, and contacts.

Seriously, the BlackBerry PlayBook launched without a freaking e-mail client. It’s no surprise the tablet flopped so badly. The PlayBook is a tablet built for the BlackBerry faithful, and yet it was missing one of the most-used features by Crackberry addicts.

In the last quarter of 2011, RIM announced that it shipped only 150,000 of the tablets and that it had to take a $485 million hit for the quarter due to lowering the PlayBook’s price. As far as the major tablet flops of 2011 go, the PlayBook sits directly behind HP’s disastrous webOS TouchPad.

Other new features in BlackBerry OS 2.0 include social integration in the calendar, which will pull in your friends from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as well as updates to BlackBerry Bridge that will let your BlackBerry Phone serve as a remote control for the PlayBook. There’s also a new “Open On” feature that makes it easy to open documents you’re viewing on your BlackBerry Phone on the PlayBook with a single click.

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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