Well, it’s not much of a surprise but RIM announced that it will be previewing the next major iteration of the BlackBerry PlayBook OS, version 2.0, at CES 2012 this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. With it comes a host of new improvements and features — one of them being native e-mail!
Who ever thought native e-mail would be touted as “new” in software going on its second major version? Nonetheless, there’s that and plenty more to indulge in. The native e-mail client will be accessible via the built-in messaging app. It will include a unified inbox, tabbed views for multitasking, search, and rich text composing and signatures.
Also new for version 2.0 are native contacts and calendars apps. RIM clearly listened to all the feedback, and it shouldn’t have been too hard because we all spoke loud and clear. Both are focused on connecting with people more than anything. The calendar, in addition to acting as a calendar app should, lets you organize events by people involved to see who you’re going to be with and when. The contacts app keeps the social theme and takes some cues from Windows Phone’s People hub to create less of an address book and more of a full directory for the people in your life, pulling information from various accounts and social networks.
BlackBerry Bridge is the next major feature on RIM’s list, as the link between your BlackBerry devices has improved. You’ll be able to control your PlayBook with your BlackBerry smartphone to an extent and type wirelessly using the smartphone keyboard. Bridge can open files from one device on another, too.
Finally, OS 2.0 delivers a number of minor features that reminds us RIM isn’t giving up. This includes wireless printing, a store for purchasing movies and TV shows, and an improved web browser.
BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 seems like it addresses many if not all of the concerns with the original software. Now all we need is killer hardware, which I suspect is in the works to pair nicely with the OS update. We’ll hear more about the upcoming PlayBook update from RIM this week at CES. It will roll out to PlayBook owners in February.