Preview: BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 update
Earlier we were able to get a sneak preview of what’s coming for the BlackBerry PlayBook and its QNX 2.0 OS which should be coming our way real soon. Like this month soon.
The 2.0 update on the BlackBerry PlayBook took care of most of the features that were lacking in the current build. And here we’re going to walk you through on the highlights that you should expect from the PlayBook OS 2.0 update.
Native E-mail App
This is one of the things that made non-BlackBerry users shy away from the PlayBook before. But now with a built-in native e-mail app that supports unified inbox, you can make sure that you have all your e-mails with you on your PlayBook. Not only can you add your Outlook Exchange, Gmail and Yahoo! accounts but you can also add your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts as well to view messages from them. You can view all messages in one view or by separate accounts so you won’t get overwhelmed.
Native Contacts App
Now with the built-in Contacts apps, aside from storing contacts from your BlackBerry smartphone, you can also pull contacts from the different accounts you registered into the PlayBook. Contact list from Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! or what have you can be easily transferred to the PlayBook Contacts App. We were told that the 2.0 update can automatically link multiple accounts of a single person. If you have Jose pulled from your phone’s contact list, the PlayBook will automatically link Jose’s other information pulled from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Native Calendar App
The new Calendar App on the PlayBook is nicely made I should say. You can easily see which dates have events on them and has a very intuitive way of creating events. You can also include people from your contact list as you create meetings and appointments and have the option to shoot them an e-mail or a message for that event. It can also pull calendar from your Gmail, Facebook or other accounts if you’re storing your calendar somewhere else.
Documents to Go Premium
The OS 2.0 update will have the premium version of Documents to Go app built-in. Major difference from the free version is that you can create Word or Excel docs from the device itself instead of being only able to open and edit them.
Reader View on Web Browser
What this does is simply convert an article on a web site into a readable format stripping away unnecessary elements from the site like menus, ads, animations etc.
BlackBerry Phone as a remote control
Now this is a cool feature. When you pair your Blackberry phone to the PlayBook via Bridge, you can turn your phone into a track mouse to remotely control the PlayBook. You can even use your phone’s keyboard to type text on the PlayBook. So why would you want to do that you say? Well imagine hooking up your PlayBook to your HDTV, you can use your phone to control the PlayBook from your couch so you don’t have to be near the TV. Or if you’re giving a presentation, you can use your BB phone to control the slides from afar. This remote control feature also accepts those swipe gestures in the PlayBook.
Here’s the deal with Android apps. They scrapped the Android App Playerp which allows you to install and play APK (Android package) files. Instead, they made it easy for developers to repackage their Android apps into PlayBook apps. How easy? It’s easy as uploading your APK and hitting convert and this is available to members of BlackBerry Beta Zone. Of course, it will still have to be submitted and reviewed by BlackBerry before they can release it to the App World.
What we got from them, however, is that once 2.0 goes live, about a thousand Android repackaged apps/games will hit the App World which will be available to PlayBook users. Expect popular titles like Cut the Rope to be making their way to the PlayBook real soon.
So given these developments, what do you think RIM should work on next with the PlayBook in terms of features?