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1/12/2012
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RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps

Research In Motion demonstrated the next release of its BlackBerry PlayBook operating system at CES. Check out our video for a peek at native email and calendar apps, an Android player, and user interface improvements.

Ultrabooks Dazzle At CES
Ultrabooks Dazzle At CES
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Research In Motion began talking about PlayBook OS 2.0 in the second half of 2010, and shipped a beta developer kit in October. At CES this week, RIM began showing it off. It includes a few of the missing native apps (email, calendar, and contacts), but it also includes a unified inbox, the integration of social media with calendar, contacts and email, the much-awaited Android player, and enhanced Bridge functionality that includes remote control. It's still on track for February release.

The video embedded below gives a fairly thorough view of all of the major end-user changes, including a running Android app. Shaun Coghlan, BlackBerry PlayBook senior product manager, said there will be thousands of Android apps available when PlayBook OS 2.0 ships.

Among the changes: The main PlayBook user interface no longer contains pre-set tabs for apps; users can customized their own panes to organize apps. You can also create folders by dropping apps on each other . . . you know, like on iPads.

[ What's the big trend in mobile? Read LTE 4G Dominates CES. ]

The PlayBook email app includes a universal inbox, and that includes not just different mail services but also social feeds. The email client looks much more intuitive compared to using BlackBerry email over the Bridge function. RIM is also leveraging the PlayBook's multitasking in email, letting users compose multiple messages at once directly in the client app, and then with an easy swipe, move between them and opened messages. Email also includes an HTML editor for richer message creation.

RIM is taking this whole social integration thing pretty seriously. For instance, in the calendar app, instead of just listing meetings and appointments, there are things like a "people view" so that you can see who you're meeting with, and then drill into information about them from your contact app, including things like recent Tweets, and the ability to directly video chat with them if they're available. That's in addition to information on meetings you've had with the person in the past.

Finally, RIM has made some changes to Bridge. For instance, there's a remote control app for the BlackBerry phone, and you can take over and control the PlayBook. You can even use swipe gestures as if the phone is a PlayBook. I'm a little dubious about the practicality of this, although it could be a good way to control a PlayBook connected to your TV (admittedly, I haven't used my PlayBook that way yet).

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Common Sense Guy
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Common Sense Guy,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2012 | 5:27:03 PM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
Launching the Android apps may be slow, but having spent some time with one of these I can tell you the native stuff isn't. Even tethered was pretty good.
Common Sense Guy
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Common Sense Guy,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/21/2012 | 5:22:51 PM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
A colleague at work and I just both ordered the 64gb Playbooks at $299.00 (Ordered directly from RIM - no tax or shipping:-) We had both been given units to evaluate at work and came away very impressed by the unit - hardware and OS/user interface. We also both viewed it more as a personal/entertainment device as opposed to a serious work unit. Part of that was due to our organization blocking access to the wifi at work for the Playbooks and part of it is that corporate email was only available through tethering. We both liked the unit a lot - it was much better than I thought it would be given all the negative reviews.

While admittedly a bit of a gamble, I ordered one to essentially replace my iPod Touch 32gb. Ironically it cost the same amount as my 3rd generation iPod (no cameras). With the OS2.0 and it's existing capabilities, this thing becomes a serious "personal productivity and multimedia device". The cameras, HD, HDMI out, new mail/social client, size, availability of additional (Android) apps - it became very appealing. If I had not had the chance to play with one (a 16gb model) for a couple weeks and put it through its paces I doubt I would have pulled the trigger. But the first hand experience plus the coming (demonstrated) capabilities sealed the deal. Not to mention 64gb for $100 more than a Fire. My iPod Touch now becomes the device I use to listen to music while running around - the thing it's really best for.
JDIAMOND000
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JDIAMOND000,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2012 | 4:58:10 AM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
Finally, a commenter with some perspective, and not just an Android fanboy.
JDIAMOND000
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JDIAMOND000,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2012 | 4:57:22 AM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
I agree with your comment about cleaning the screen. The rest of what you wrote is ludicrous. Was it really painful that we had to wait 8 seconds for the Android player to launch? That's painful to you? That's falling on the floor face first?

By the way, your last sentence demonstrates some sorry sounding alliteration.
JDIAMOND000
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JDIAMOND000,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2012 | 4:47:53 AM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
I thought Shaun Coglan did an excellent job showcasing the new OS, but slow down so we can experience what's coming! Information Week's shoddy camera work didn't help either...the camera guy that works Apple's booth must have been busy.

It seems RIM is most excited for the features that integrate its phones, whereas most consumers probably see the Android player--and thousands of apps in tow--as the key feature. This makes sense from RIM's perspective, but ya might as well play up the Android player! It looks kick-ass. Perhaps that's the long term emphasis...idk.

The interviewer made a hostile comment about the "flakey touchscreen" during the HTML demo...but c'mon. The program was not responding because the programmer was moving through the menus at light speed. My guess is, if Shaun slows down the demonstration, no issues occur. Who moves through emails that fast? Is that ever practical? My Iphone gets clogged up when I move that quickly through menus so I'll chalk it up to RAM limitations. Not an issue, IMO........if in fact this was a software issue, who cares, it's a gimmicky feature anyway.

I'm excited for the new OS. If everything works as advertised, the recent Playbook adopters lured in by steep discounts really have something awesome to look forward to.
JDIAMOND000
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JDIAMOND000,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/14/2012 | 4:29:30 AM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
I rethought my comment and posted above.
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
1/13/2012 | 3:44:25 PM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
Gee, RIM is dying fast and RIM is back going great guns at the same time...

I suspect that the truth is out there - in the middle, but I do fear that the path for RIM is up a fairly steep hill.

Can't wait for PB2.0, though. I like my PB a lot, but the lack of apps is painful. Come on, Amazon, we need a Kindle app.
Superfly_FR
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Superfly_FR,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/13/2012 | 9:25:48 AM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
I think RIM made a huge work to make its PB right back in the tracks.
Unified messaging client, social PIM integrated with messages, calendar and contact is perfect ...
Adding very powerful company tools as Fusion (the next BES) and Balance (splits private an job environments) is finishing to polish their global solution, including BYOD (bring your own device) that will cover RIM's products but also Android's and Apple's devices.

It's NEVER too late to do good. We've been waiting too) long, but now, RIm is back on business.
GeekTechDeck
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GeekTechDeck,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 4:04:17 PM
re: RIM PlayBook 2.0: Here Come The Apps
You know BlackBerry/RIM should really have a top notch working demo at CES for Playbook 2.0. It might also be nice if they cleaned the screen before shooting the video. It might not seem like much, but with the condition RIM is in, even the smallest details matter. I quit watching the video halfway as it was getting painful to see apps not launching. It is sad that this once great Canadian Company is falling on the floor face first.
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