The new enhancements to the free OS download include:
- A native email client that consolidates messages from your personal and work accounts, Facebook , LinkedIn Corp. and Twitter Inc. into one inbox
- A built-in calendar and contacts with social network integration
- BlackBerry Bridge to connect documents, Web pages, emails and photos from your BlackBerry to your Playbook. Bridge also turns a BlackBerry into a wireless keyboard and mouse for the PlayBook
- Improved enterprise features, like document editing, a Print To Go app and BlackBery Balance to separate enterprise and consumer features
- Thousands of new apps, including from Android, and a new BlackBerry Video store
RIM walked Fritz Nelson, from Light Reading sister publication InformationWeek through the new features at last month's Consumer Electronics Show. Check out the video for a visual tour of what's new.
Why this matters
Updates to the PlayBook OS help put it on par with rival tablets, but they have most reviewers reminding us that they're all things the device should have had at launch. Now, the question becomes, is it too little, too late?
Frost & Sullivan analyst Craig Cartier, who was impressed with the new OS, believes the updates -- namely the social network integration and Android apps -- give the PlayBook great potential and should have a positive impact on PlayBook sales, as well as RIM's brand perception. But, he points out that not only are the updates a long time coming, they'll also be the only thing to tide RIM until it launches BlackBerry 10 in the latter part of the year.
"Half a year (thinking optimistically) in the smartphone space is an eternity, however," Cartier writes in a research note, drawing a comparison between RIM and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s wait on Windows Phone. "Too little too late for RIM? Time (and customer response) will tell."
Read up on RIM's rocky road in the mobile space.
- RIM Co-Chairman Shake-up Coming This Month
- RIM Blames Chipsets for BlackBerry 10 Delay
- RIM Plans a Q3 PlayBook Revival
- RIM Reports 27% Quarterly Profit Dive
- RIM Jams Android-Friendly Features Into BBX
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile