Research In Motion offered a sneak peek of its BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 features at the 2012 International CES this week in Las Vegas. RIM is promising its second edition tablet will help users stay more connected and productive in both their personal and professional lives.
The original PlayBook had some compelling features, including true multitasking. Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO at RIM, said the second iteration, on track to be released next month, builds on that foundation, as well as leveraging the company's "strengths in communications, social integration and productivity."
The PlayBook 2 may be a make or break model for RIM, which disappointed die-hard enterprise users with its first effort by failing to offer a native e-mail client. BlackBerry is known for its push e-mail technology that alerts users when new e-mail arrives.
"The first PlayBook was a dramatic and unequivocal failure. It's unlikely that PlayBook 2 will succeed unless it's radically improved and it's priced below $250," said Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "Amazon's Kindle Fire, essentially a PlayBook design with Android -Amazon guts, has made it almost impossible for tablet competitors to charge more than about $250 or $300 at maximum."
As Sterling sees it, if RIM prices the PlayBook 2 at $499 -- which is the same price of the original PlayBook -- it would simply lose sales to the iPad. And even if it were priced aggressively at $199, which would likely represent a loss, people might still avoid it given Amazon's superior content assets and ecosystem.
"So RIM is caught between a Kindle Fire and an iPad with little room to maneuver," Sterling said.
RIM is nevertheless giving tablets another go. The PlayBook OS 2.0 offers a new unified inbox with built-in messaging app that allows users to manage personal and work e-mail accounts as well as messaging functions of popular social networking sites. The new OS also allows multitasking within e-mail with a feature called tabbed e-mail that lets users reference one message while composing another.
Playbook OS 2.0 offers a built-in Calendar app that lets users view their calendar by who they are meeting with that day and review information about that contact. Information is consolidated automatically from social networking sites about that contact and/or their company. And a new built-in Contacts app serves as a social hub, merging e-mail and social channels into one contact file for each person in the address book.
On the productivity front, updated Documents To Go functionality aims to make it easier for users to create and edit documents while on the go with improvements like enhanced support for the virtual keyboard, the ability to view and update embedded charts and chart sheets within spreadsheets, a new formula wizard with more than 100 functions, and the ability to edit presentations including text, bullets and formatting. That's coupled with a Print To Go app that lets users wirelessly print from their laptop or PC directly to their BlackBerry PlayBook over Wi-Fi .
Posted: 2012-01-13 @ 7:57am PT
So what about Blackberry Balance? or Blackberry Tag? Or the upcoming access to Android Apps? Or the BB Bridge to smartTV? or ActiveSync Open-in-Playbook feature? Come on! If someone paid you to write this review, you need to give them their money back! The BB OS 2.0 is a major improvement and deserves better than what you dished out.
Posted: 2012-01-13 @ 6:16am PT
Just for the record, the Playbook with native email is better than the iPad & the Kindle Fire. Just saying....
Posted: 2012-01-12 @ 10:28am PT
Why bother to even write this article at all? Can you hear your own tone in this article? What's your intention here - to review the OS update or to just bash RIM just because it's got to be done? Apply some discretion next time.