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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: a big update for RIM's tablet

Not long after the BlackBerry PlayBook was released, we started hearing rumors about what the next iteration of the tablet's software would look like. The most important additions seemed to be obvious ones, like the native email client that few could believe wasn't present on the initial version, but rumors had it including some more surprising features as well — like the ability to run Android apps on the PlayBook. The new update is due for arrival sometime in February, and we've collected everything you need to know about PlayBook OS 2.0 below.

  • Sam Byford

    Apr 6, 2012

    Sam Byford

    BlackBerry 4G PlayBook photos show up with BBM preloaded

    blackberry playbook 4g (crackberry)
    blackberry playbook 4g (crackberry)

    The BlackBerry PlayBook was supposed to have three "4G" varieties — LTE, HSPA+, and WiMAX — but the Wi-Fi-only model was the only RIM tablet ever to see release. That doesn't mean it was the only model to be manufactured, though, and a few units appear to have "fallen into the hands" of CrackBerry forum user Fakedeadmau5. His story as to how he acquired the devices is a little murky, but the photos appear to check out. Fakedeadmau5 didn't have a 4G SIM of any variety, so details of how the mobile data functionality actually works are still unclear, as well as exactly which model we're looking at here.

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  • David Pierce

    Feb 23, 2012

    David Pierce

    BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 review

    PlayBook 2.0 hero2 (1024px)
    PlayBook 2.0 hero2 (1024px)

    When we reviewed the BlackBerry PlayBook back in April, we couldn’t help feeling the device’s insides didn’t match its outsides. The PlayBook is a well-built, good-looking device, but its software was buggy, frustrating, and frankly unfinished. There was no email or calendar app (yes, really), and few apps of any kind to speak of.

    PlayBook 2.0, a software update released this week, is RIM’s attempt to solve many of those problems. It adds email, calendar, and contact apps, finally making the PlayBook a functional standalone device — before, if you didn’t have a BlackBerry to connect to the PlayBook, there wasn’t much you could do with your tablet. Version 2.0 also brings compatibility with some Android apps, which is much needed for a device with few good apps to speak of. There are also some interface tweaks and enhancements, plus a lot of productivity boosts from the Docs to Go suite of apps. This update has been in the works for a long time, and other manufacturers haven’t been standing still either — does PlayBook 2.0 catch up to the tablet field? Read on to find out.

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  • Dieter Bohn

    Feb 21, 2012

    Dieter Bohn

    BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 released with native email and Android app support

    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0
    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0

    The biggest new feature is that RIM is finally including a native email client on the PlayBook, which features a unified inbox, tabs, and a rich text editor. Along with the email client, the PlayBook 2.0 OS will also pull relationship and event information from multiple sources into built-in Contacts and Calendar apps. RIM has updated Documents To Go, added Print To Go, and fully integrated the necessary hooks to let IT managers provision PlayBooks with BlackBerry Fusion.

    RIM also updated the BlackBerry Bridge software the PlayBook uses to communicate with BlackBerry Smartphones. It allows users to make their smartphones "remotes" for the PlayBook, with input from the keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen all in tow. Interestingly, the remote capabilities work with many devices — including the PS3 console and Android tablets like the HTC Flyer and Motorola Xoom — that support the Bluetooth HID profile.

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  • Sam Byford

    Feb 21, 2012

    Sam Byford

    Updated Bridge software turns your BlackBerry into a Bluetooth remote for PS3, PC, Android tablets, and more

    blackberry bridge
    blackberry bridge

    Say what you want about RIM's recent travails — the company does have at least a few dedicated users who can't bear the thought of life away from their hardware keyboards. Well, with the updated version of BlackBerry Bridge coming alongside PlayBook OS 2.0 you'll be able to use your BlackBerry phones to control any number of devices, from the PlayStation 3 to the Motorola Xoom. It works over Bluetooth HID, and seems to be pretty easy to set up, with no app required on the other end. Of course, the main reason for BlackBerry Bridge to exist is to make the PlayBook and BlackBerry phone a more powerful pair, so we'll have to see if there's anything more in store when version 2.0 of the tablet OS launches any minute now.

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  • Jacob Schulman

    Feb 17, 2012

    Jacob Schulman

    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update to roll out Tuesday, February 21st?

    Gallery Photo: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 pictures
    Gallery Photo: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 pictures

    BlackBerry Mobile Fusion will also launch on Tuesday, enabling large organizations to manage fleets of PlayBook tablets and BlackBerry phones wirelessly. It will expand to include iOS and Android devices in March, allowing IT departments to provision employees' own devices. It had previously been speculated that the company would introduce the upgrade at Mobile World Congress which kicks off on February 27th, but early PlayBook announcements could pave the way for more BlackBerry 10-related news at the show instead.

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  • Andrew Webster

    Feb 15, 2012

    Andrew Webster

    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 'likely' to launch during MWC

    Gallery Photo: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 pictures
    Gallery Photo: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 pictures

    Initially announced at CES, version 2.0 of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS is finally set to launch during Mobile World Congress at the end of this month. According to Senior Brand Manager Jeff Gadway in an interview with PC Magazine, the update will be available "very soon" and is likely to go live during MWC, which kicks off on February 27 and will have a fairly large RIM presence. RIM had initially planned ro release the update in February so a launch during MWC would be cutting it pretty close. The 400MB update, which will be pushed automatically to all PlayBooks once live, will introduce a number of new features to the OS, including several glaring omissions from the initial release. Most notably there's finally a native email client with a new Messages app that not only lets you manage email but also Twitter and LinkedIn messages. PlayBook owners can also expect to see a tweaked home screen, new contacts and calendar apps, the ability to use your BlackBerry phone as a remote, and more. And for those of you eager to get a look at the update, be sure to check out our hands-on time with PlayBook 2.0.

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  • Sam Byford

    Feb 3, 2012

    Sam Byford

    RIM handing out free BlackBerry PlayBooks to Android app developers

    The BlackBerry PlayBook launched at $499, was cut to $199, then $99 for employees, and likely has a successor on the way, so you'd think the story might be over, right? Well, it's now available for the low low price of free to Android developers who register and submit an app to BlackBerry App World by February 13th. A tweet by Alec Saunders, RIM's VP of developer relations revealed the offer, with developers simply needing to email the name of their app to developeroutreachprogram@rim.com. The PlayBook added limited Android app support in an effort to shore up its lineup, but it's not a good sign if developers are needing this much encouragement to help stock the store. At least this is likely the last "price-drop" post we'll ever have to write about the PlayBook — short of a giveaway deal at Walmart, or RIM deciding to pay people to take one.

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  • Jacob Schulman

    Jan 10, 2012

    Jacob Schulman

    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: hands-on impressions, pictures, and video

    BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0
    BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0

    RIM formally announced PlayBook OS 2.0 yesterday, and I met with the product's senior marketing manager Jeff Gadway to check out all the features in the new operating system. Version 2.0 finally brings a native mail client to the BlackBerry tablet, along with calendar and contact apps. RIM also made some general aesthetic changes, and added a bulked-up version of BlackBerry Bridge and an eerily familiar "reading view" feature in the browser.

    While this OS update fills in many of the PlayBook's gaps, there are still a few big-ticket items missing. The largest of course is BBM, which is "still being perfected" for the tablet's big screen (and can still be used via BlackBerry Bridge). I personally don't see the point of needing the service on a device that isn't necessarily always on your person, but it'd be nice to have another chat option. The other missing item is true BES support, though BlackBerry Mobile Fusion is an ActiveSync solution that delivers the same functionality with equivalent encryption.

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  • Jacob Schulman

    Jan 9, 2012

    Jacob Schulman

    BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: RIM details new features

    PlayBook
    PlayBook

    RIM has announced that it will show off version 2.0 of the BlackBerry Playbook OS here at CES 2012 which will become available in February. This version finally brings a native email client to RIM's tablet, complete with unified inbox and tab-based navigation for keeping multiple messages open simultaneously. It also has a rich text editor — something not often seen on mobile devices — and support for setting auto-responders and signatures right from the PlayBook itself. (For those wondering, there's still no BBM.) Similar to webOS, the PlayBook OS now pulls in and consolidates contact information from multiple social networks and email accounts into one entry per person. It also has a "people-centric calendar" that integrates with the address book.

    The new OS packs a couple of improvements that should make it easier to get work done on the PlayBook. BlackBerry phones have been tightly integrated with the tablet since launch, but users can now use their device's hardware keyboard to input text or control the PlayBook remotely. Content on smartphone devices can also be opened directly on the PlayBook itself. An updated Documents To Go suite adds support for embedded charts and formulas, while the new Print To Go application enables users to print wirelessly. Finally, BlackBerry Balance and Mobile Fusion are integrated into 2.0, providing a simpler way for IT departments to allow both personal and corporate data on devices it distributes without compromising security.

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  • Eddie Fu

    Nov 22, 2011

    Eddie Fu

    BlackBerry PlayBook native email, contacts, calendar pictured

    BlackBerry PlayBook native email
    BlackBerry PlayBook native email

    We saw some leaked images of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 a few months ago, and now BlackBerry Cool has shots of the native email, contacts, and calendar features, all taken yesterday at the BlackBerry Innovation Forum. There's not much to the pics, but they do show pinch-to-zoom in email, calendar numbers that grow in size as your scheduled appointments increase, and an enhanced contacts section that integrates inboxes and social networks. RIM also mentioned a PlayBook keyboard accessory that should come in handy for all this added functionality. With these new apps on the way and the recently announced price drop, the PlayBook could be a nice value this holiday season.

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  • Sean Hollister

    Oct 18, 2011

    Sean Hollister

    RIM shows off Android apps running on BlackBerry PlayBook (video)

    You may have a a bit of a wait before your BlackBerry PlayBook can run Android apps, but we can give you a glimpse at how those apps might play -- RIM demonstrated the new Android App Player with several titles on the BlackBerry DevCon stage today, and we taped the whole thing. We have to admit that Pool Break Pro looks pretty speedy despite its 3D roots, and both the Pulse news reader and IMDB app behaved fairly well. Interestingly, it looks like the App Player may support two forms of multitasking, both inside and out: Android programs appear in the PlayBook's multitasking menu, but also in a second pane of icons in the App Player window itself. If this is how it'll be at launch, you should potentially be able to swap between Android apps on the fly, even though each one will technically run in the same window. You can also see how simple it could potentially be to port an Android app to the PlayBook, which doesn't necessarily require any modification of your code; just repackage it using the BlackBerry Nature wrapper, and you're good to go. See it all for yourself after the break in a quick video!

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  • Dieter Bohn

    Aug 26, 2011

    Dieter Bohn

    PlayBook OS version 2.0 leaks: Exchange ActiveSync in, BES out?

    Images of the next version of the QNX-based operating system for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook look to have leaked on MaxPDA. Assuming they are legit, the big takeaway comes from the settings app, pictured above. It indicates that RIM is finally going to add native email, calendar, and contacts solutions -- but it also implies something more ominous. While you can add Exchange ActiveSync, IMAP, POP, CalDav, and CardDav accounts, it doesn't look like you can add BlackBerry Exchange Server or BlackBerry Internet Server accounts. That's right, while RIM is finally adding native email support to the PlayBook, it may not be adding BES or BIS support. That matches up with previous rumors that the QNX-toting BlackBerry Colt wouldn't support BES because it's "extremely difficult" to get it working on QNX. In short, BlackBerry Bridge isn't going away anytime soon, but at least the PlayBook will be a bit more palatable to non-BlackBerry users.

    To help that bitter pill go down, check out the screenshot after the break showing the icon for the Android App Player and what may be native BBM support. An earlier rumor had suggested a September launch for the OS. Then again BlackBerry DevCon is in October, a timeframe that might give those crazy Canadians a bit more time to finish development before making it official.

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