Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update - Do Or Die For The Blackberry Playbook: OS 2.0 Features and Release Date

UPDATE: OS 2.0 is available now! Go to settings (cog wheel in top right corner) on your Playbook, select Software Updates and press Check for Updates. The update will appear and should be about 400 MBs.

(Photo via mobilesyrup.com)
Word on the street is that the Blackberry Playbook OS upgrade to 2.0 is coming February 21st at 4:01 a.m. For those of you that own the device (I know I'm not the only one), this is welcome news as a truckload of new features are to be included. This will be newly minted CEO Thorsten Heins first major play and he will need to deliver this new software by the end of February at the latest or face the wrath of every media outlet, Blackberry nation included. As we patiently await its availability, here are the new bells and whistle that will bring the Playbook to the next level (hopefully).

From the RIM press release for OS 2.0:

Advanced Messaging Experience:

New unified inbox - a powerful unified inbox within the built-in messaging app allows users to quickly manage their personal email and work email accounts as well as the messaging capabilities of popular social networking sites like Twitter®, LinkedIn® and others – all in one place.

The email upgrade will also feature a tabbed view as well as rich-text email composing and editing similar to what you would have with a web based email client. But most importantly, the blinking red notification light will be available! Every Berryhead love and hate that blinking light...I am stoked about it!

Deep Integration of Social Relationships:

Innovative people-centric calendar – in addition to standard calendar features that help users plan and organize their day, the powerful built-in Calendar app provides the unique ability for users to view their calendar by who they are meeting with that day and review valuable information about that contact. Information is consolidated automatically from social networking sites about that contact and/or their company.

The biggest feature is that it will aggregate all of your calendars into one, bringing together your social networks events and all other meetings to one place.

Making Your BlackBerry Smartphone and Tablet a Powerful Pair:

Remote control for the BlackBerry PlayBook – new BlackBerry® Bridge™ features allow a user’s BlackBerry® smartphone to act as a keyboard and mouse for their BlackBerry PlayBook – effectively providing a wireless remote control for their tablet. 

I'm excited about this feature. This will be amazing when I connect my Playbook to my TV via HDMI or do a power point presentation. I hope they expand the remote functionality to games and apps.

Improved Mobile Productivity:

Increased control and manageability of corporate data – the combination of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion and BlackBerry Balance will help to overcome many barriers to widespread tablet deployment, including device manageability and the ability to secure, manage and control confidential corporate information on the device. Plus BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 supports dedicated shelf space inside the BlackBerry® App World™ storefront to allow IT departments to control distribution of enterprise applications and to make those approved enterprise applications easily available to the organization’s end users.

OS 2.0 also brings updates to the Documents To Go app suite including a new formula wizard and presentation editing. Blackberry is also introducing Print To Go which will allow for wireless printing.

New Apps and Content:

Your favorite apps plus thousands more - many exciting new applications built for the BlackBerry PlayBook will be made available on BlackBerry App World with the availability of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. From gaming and lifestyle to business and productivity, RIM is showcasing some of the latest apps available for the BlackBerry PlayBook at CES 2012 including Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Groupon, Thomson Reuters, Zinio and many more.

The Playbook has been ridiculed for its lack of apps, and now they believe they found the answer. Android app creators can now repackage their apps for the Blackberry Playbook, which will bring a more diverse selection to their app store. Additionally, the Video Store app will launch on the same day, but will only be available to the US.  New releases will be available to rent or own on the day the are released.

There you have it! Many great new features, but is it enough to compete with the iPad? Who cares if it does or doesn't. Blackberry needs to focus on giving there users the best experience possible and this is a step in the right direction. I'll be the guy up at 4:02 tomorrow morning getting this update. If they miss this target, there will be tons of disappointed Berryheads and some very happy haters.



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