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BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 hands-on

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 hands-on
Crazy to believe it, but the BlackBerry PlayBook is nearing its first birthday – and what a surprise it is to find it back in the spotlight once again! Somehow, it has managed to evade death, which is no easy feat in the always-advancing tablet industry, but yeah, it’s still ticking and fighting retirement. No question about it whatsoever, but the biggest complaint about the QNX-based tablet when it launched last year, and even now, is the fact that it’s limited with its functionality when compared to some other tablets.

Well people, the time is finally here after a super long wait, but nevertheless, BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0 is finally available for download. Eager to check out all the new features attached with this major update, we waited patiently for it to download the hefty over 400MB file via Wi-Fi. Once installed, nothing seemed out of place with its overall appearance, as it maintains the same style and presentation as before. However, right away, we’re presented with some new icons sitting pretty in the main app panel bar. So what’s new? Let’s take a quick look!

For starters, we’re finally greeted with native organizer apps for Mesages, Contacts, and Calendar. Honestly, this isn’t necessarily the first time we’re seeing them, since they’ve been made available for those owners who happen to have the tablet connected to a BlackBerry smartphone via the BlackBerry Bridge app. Nonetheless, we’re ecstatic to find these mandatory apps out of the box – without the need of any ‘Berry smartphone. Providing our email address and password, we’re instantly taken to our inbox, where we find the native email client giving us that all too typical 2-panel layout. During the account setup process, it actually also synchronizes our contacts and calendar as well, which again employs a very tablet-like layout. Furthermore, we like how the Contacts apps manages to incorporate social networking accounts, thus, allowing us to view statuses and posts from within the app.

Messages
Contacts
Calendar
Print To Go
Docs To Go

Messages

Contacts

Calendar

Print To Go

Docs To Go



Reader Mode

Reader Mode

RIM mentions that there are some new things found with the web browser, but honestly, it’s not found in the visual look or feel of it. Rather, the only item that we find new is the book icon located in the top left corner. Clicking on it actually sets the current page into Reader Mode, which as its name implies, makes it easier to read text without the clutter of multimedia content taking up space. It’s nice, but aside from that, there’s nothing else different with the browser. In the productivity side, the software update includes apps like Print To Go and Docs To Go. With the former, users can now print digital files wirelessly, while the latter gives us the ability to edit Microsoft Word and Excel files.

Lastly, Android apps support is now available with the PlayBook, but after looking around the App World, we’re puzzled to try and even attempt which ones are actually Android based. Unfortunately, there isn’t a separate Hub or notation system in place to distinguish which ones are Android, but lucky for us, we’re able to discover and download the Dolphin HD web browser. Yeah, it’s nice and all to see this Android app running on the PlayBook, but it seems more choppy with its performance. Regardless of that, it’s an Android app running on the PlayBook. Right now, there seems to be very few available, but as time goes on, we’d fathom seeing an increase as developers start to bring over more apps.

Android Apps support
Android Apps support
Android Apps support
Android Apps support

Android Apps support



Let’s be serious here, we’re grateful to see these new features and all, but the bigger question that remains unanswered is why did it take this long in the first place? Without a doubt, the PlayBook is now a full featured tablet out of the box now that we find native organizer apps on board with it. Still, considering that we’ve been waiting nearly a year for it, we were hoping to also see some visual updates to the look and feel of the platform – but sadly, there’s not much of it. Instead, this is what PlayBook OS 1.0 should’ve been, but as much as we can continue lamenting about it all, it’s here, and that’s what matters in the end.

11 Comments
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posted on 21 Feb 2012, 20:11

1. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1433; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


What happen to the android app player??

posted on 21 Feb 2012, 20:13 2

2. LoneShaolin (Posts: 307; Member since: 14 Jan 2012)


Too little too late?

posted on 21 Feb 2012, 20:30 1

3. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)


RIM should do what hp did with the touchpad, just hand over the kernel and source to CM team while having a firesale on the playbook.

i cant see this os taking off with the next ipad, the google nexus tab, ICS updates, and WP8 tabs just around the corner.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 04:40

8. Jarahawk (Posts: 42; Member since: 04 Dec 2011)


A 64 GB for $299 IS a fire sale. Or if you are REALLY a cheapskate go for the 16GB for $199.

posted on 21 Feb 2012, 20:47 3

4. abhishek48 (Posts: 164; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)


WOW, Modern Combat 2 and Asphalt 6 are given free for limited time from app world.. grab it before they become paid.. the new os rocks.. browser scored 65k browser mark points.. with all test enabled.. and playbook browser is awesome anyways.. Plays videos from you tube at 1080p... i dont have many devices but my lg thrill cannot play smoothly when i go to youtube desktop version and try to increase the resolution of videos to 1080p( thrill is grt but froyo on it sucks) but my galaxy s2 runs any thing ease.. the matter is that LG thrill has same processor as bb playbook, TI OMAP 4430.. so now think how good is QNX OS which runs a higher resolution.. so will BB London rock..?

posted on 21 Feb 2012, 23:50 2

5. digicon (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Aug 2011)


Hell Yeah ! ! !

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 01:38 1

6. bvalde09 (Posts: 171; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)


I Like it !!!!

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 02:26

7. belovedson (Posts: 821; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


please come out with the bluetooth keyboard integrated things i want to actually type with all fingers

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 07:32 1

9. DontHateOnS60 (Posts: 787; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)


They should have left the keyboards alone. Not a fan of the new smaller designs.

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 10:02

10. henrickrw (Posts: 402; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


I like it... Too late?, I don´t agree, if they do people talk, if they din´t, poeple talk.... I´m happy with my 64GB Playbook.. FTW

posted on 22 Feb 2012, 13:36

11. downphoenix (Posts: 2230; Member since: 19 Jun 2010)


Like the update somewhat, a little more responsive and stable, which is impressive as OS1 was already good in this regard, and the email app is great. A little disappointed about how you can setup contacts for Twitter but there's no actual Twitter app or Tweetcaster which IMO is the best 3rd party one, and none of the free ones are that good (Tweedless is okay I guess) so it seems kind of pointless to have that feature when you can only use it for DMs and not for your twitter feeds, retweets, etc.

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