Sneak Preview of BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0: New Features Unveiled
by TP NCR Correspondent, Mon Arguelles
Yesterday at Makati City, TechPinas together with other members of the media got the chance to witness a demo of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0.
Elain Tung of Research in Motion Presenting BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0
The BB PlayBook 2.0 is a software upgrade which will be made available to current PlayBook owners soon. The updated OS aims to improve the PlayBook user experience with new useful capabilities added to the already powerful device. These include the following:
- New email client
- Calendar, contacts, and social network integration
- Improved mobile productivity
- Reading view for browser
- BB Smartphone as a remote-control to PlayBook
- Android Apps on BlackBerry PlayBook
New Email Client
Via 2.0, the BlackBerry Playbook will finally have its own email client! This means that you can now open your personal and work emails solely from the device; You don't need to pair it anymore with a BB Smartphone using BlackBerry Bridge. Aside from emails, you can also access your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn through this client.
Calendar, Contacts, and Social Network Integration
The new contacts application merges information from multiple sources into one contact file.
Another fresh feature is a native calendar application. It enables users to do a "people-view" on their calendar, which clearly shows you the person/s you are going to meet for a particular date.
Through social network integration with the calendar, a user could also know more info about the person and/or their company before an appointment.
Improved Mobile Productivity
BlackBerry PlayBook 2.0 has the following features allowing users to easily work on the go.
PlayBook users can now use the device to do Office document tasks a lot easier. It includes the following new features:
- Updated editing capabilities for PowerPoint presentations
- Predictive text input for Word documents
- Hundreds of Excel formulas now included
Instead of printing on regular paper, users can now "print" from their laptop or PC directly to their PlayBook by connecting both devices through Wi-Fi. Having these electronic printouts inside your PlayBook can substitute and minimize paper consumption.
Reading View for Browser
Browsing over the internet will be a better experience with the PlayBook's new reading view. This new internet browser feature presents the webpage free of ads, thereby eliminating distracting elements. What's left is the text that you are actually interested in reading.
BB Smartphone as a Remote-Control for PlayBook
Another highly useful feature in the PlayBook version 2.0, is the ability to use a bridge-enabled BlackBerry smartphone to control the PlayBook remotely from an effective range of 10 meters. With this 2 BB device combo, the user is enabled to do a few things:
- During presentations, connect the PlayBook to a widescreen and control slide transitions using the BB Smartphone
- Use the physical keyboard of the BB Smartphone to type faster on the PlayBook.
- Take a snapshot using the smartphone, then transfer and project the image on the PlayBook.
Android Apps on the PlayBook
Aside from app available via BlackBerry App World, expect the PlayBook to run popular Android Market apps and games. I was able to witness Angry Birds Android version running smoothly on this device.
BlackBerry reps wouldn't reveal the exact date of the software release yet. But I think this update should be available very soon. Possibly within the month of February.
These new improvements are aimed towards enticing the customer to get the most out of this refined BlackBerry experience. This is achieved by having both the PlayBook version 2.0 enabled and the BlackBerry bridged-enabled Smartphone by BB OS 6 and 7. Furthermore, I believe that corporate users would benefit the most from this newly-introduced features.