Device operating systems

RIM Hopes New OS Will Rewrite the PlayBook

BlackBerry released its first significant software update to the PlayBook Tuesday, filling in important enterprise and consumer gaps from the tablet's first operating system.

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."

For More
Read up on RIM's rocky road in the mobile space.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:42:05 PM
re: RIM Hopes New OS Will Rewrite the PlayBook

Yes, it is really late, but if RIM revitalizes marketing for the PlayBook and keeps the price down, I think it has a really good shot in the market. The hardware was already really good; just needed to get the OS up to par. Right now, it's selling on RIM's site for $200 - $300 depending on the memory. That's very competitive. 

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:42:04 PM
re: RIM Hopes New OS Will Rewrite the PlayBook

Apparently RIM listened to me (that was fast!)..The Verge has its latest commercials posted, which focus more on the personal aspects of the PlayBook then the specs, like the original ones: http://www.theverge.com/2012/2/21/2813977/rim-blackberry-playbook-2-0-commercials

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:42:04 PM
re: RIM Hopes New OS Will Rewrite the PlayBook

Depending on how well the email works, yeah, it could boost the PlayBook. I think the public perception of the device is already damaged goods though and I don't know what they can do about that.

kingcharles 12/5/2012 | 5:42:02 PM
re: RIM Hopes New OS Will Rewrite the PlayBook

I've been using it for a few hours now and I'm really impressed with the social and email client. It really works great. Combined with the brilliant use of the bezels makes the playbook a very good product! 

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