39

Hands-on with BlackBerry Playbook OS 2.0 (Video)


It’s been a long time coming, but the BlackBerry Playbook’s long-awaited 2.0 software release is almost here.

In February, RIM will make the Playbook usable again, and that is not an understatement. We had a chance to look at Playbook 2.0 with Jeff Gadway who is almost as excited to show off the new and improved as we are to use it.

First and foremost: native email and calendar are present. But even more so, they are integrated with social networking like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so you can see what your friends are up to from within the Contacts hub.

The keyboard has been dramatically improved, now supporting not only autocorrect but algorithmic predictive typing: it adapts to your typing style and suggests the approximate next word. The home screen has been spruced up with folders and a nice looking customizable dock. There is a video service powered by the fine folks at Rovi.

Android apps have been included in App World; developers submit them the same way they would a regular Playbook app, and once approved, they show up as any other. Once installed on the tablet, they are used in the much-balihooed Android Player, which is a non-virtualized sandbox instance. From what I saw, the apps run just as smoothly as native code.

Some of the improved bridge features, like using your BlackBerry to control the Playbook, are actually fantastic. Sharing content between the two is easy (and surprisingly fast over Bluetooth).

There are so many improvements to the OS that it’s likely going to feel like a brand new product when it launches in February. That being said, putting aside the last year of Playbook, is OS 2.0 enough to convert the detractors and naysayers? If Playbook launched in February 2012 with the same hardware and upcoming software, would it be enough to compete with the iPads and Android tablets of the world? For $299, I’d say it would make a pretty compelling argument.

More than anything, from talking to Alec Saunders, VP of Developer Relations, it’s very apparent that RIM has learned many lessons since the Playbook’s launch, and as humbly as possible are simplifying its app submission process and developer tools. We’ve already seen some of the fruits of its numerous partnerships, as EA Games and Rovio are bringing their valuable IP to the Playbook. It’s nowhere near what it needs to be, but the Playbook App World is no longer a desert.

Until 2.0 officially arrives, enjoy the pics and video.



  • TheTigerTek

    I love my Playbook had it since day 1… I’ve owned a iPhone which I sold few months after I got the PB and I got a free Galaxy Tab as a throw in for signing a contract with my carrier. I’ve used all three of them QNX is an awesome OS. I hardly use the Galaxy Tab but I use PlayBook everyday. I can’t wait for the update.. I don’t care about BBM, Email, Phone book.. since i have a 9900.. what excites me is the ability to control the PlayBook with my Bold 9900 using the keyboard and trackpad (as mouse) instead of my bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I connect my PlayBook to the TV often and use my Apple keyboard and trackpad. Now I can use my Bold. Dare I say BlackBerry Remote is “Magical” lol.

    • Broski

      Didn’t you post this on CNET already? There’s no point in making the same post twice. We all know how great this update is.

    • Me Ted

      I’ve got to say…I picked up a Touchpad for myself in November and got a playbook for my wife for Christmas. Well suffice it to say, I’m on the Playbook far more than the Touchpad. Now they’ve included Android app support? Oh my. RIM’s decision to saturate the market with this device could prove to be very fruitful in the long run.

  • CEP

    How come these guys are not dead yet? Don’t bother fixing rubbish!

  • trolling

    I don’t like blackberry BUT,,, this is canadian and I cannot, not be with them.
    Great update for those who own the playbook!

  • JustMeAndMe

    if they price it reasonably they have chance.

  • Monkeysweat

    will there be netflix?

  • Marauder

    You got to give RIM a huge credit for what i think
    is the most intuitive tablet on the market.
    Sure their strategy was not the best from day 1 but,
    this hardware combine with the QNX system 2.0 will
    make others look behind. Now time develop more apps.

  • Chris (seekingalpha.com)

    RIM got is modjo back because it is innovating and creating ORIGINAL ways for interacting between the tablet and the phone.

    Good stuff.
    Disclosure: I have a blackberry and a 32gb playbook.

  • Mr. Chung Dong

    Still no apps eh?

    Garbage

    • LC

      Still can’t read, eh?
      Go back to grade 5.

  • Keetchigan

    Currently I own an iphone 4, galaxy captivate and 9900 (been using the 9900 for the past 10 months). I don’t use my phone as a toy; I consider it more of a communication tool. I purchased a 16gb playbook when they started going for 199.99 after using a galaxy tab for a week and returning it. I have to say of all the mobile OS’s, QNX is looking best for connectivity (especially for those who like the push email system).

    And as a side note, I don’t need apps if my browser supports flash as nicely as the playbook does.
    Here’s to hoping The Rimpire Strikes Back.

    • Glojohowitz

      RIMpire Strikes Back! HA. I love it. I think the techie authors have their next headline if this new OS brings RIM back from the brink.

  • Sven Karlsson

    Playbook is crap.

  • Marcus from Toronto

    Too late, I already bought an iPad 2 and LOVE IT!

    • jack

      Sorry to hear that, fortunately for me i got the 64 GB playbook, and my brother presfers using my playbook then his I pad 2

  • kenypowa

    should have been V 1.0. It’s hard to turn your reputation around after being trashed in the last 12 months. Looks great but a bit too late.

  • John Mack

    It may be a bit late, but it’s still great to see.

  • Awkward Turtle

    Very well done, RIM. For business, this tablet outperforms the iPad and Android by a long shot. Market it correctly, and don’t be greedy about reaching all markets.

  • Mark

    I know its gonna be hard for RIM to turn the Playbook’s reputation around, but the best part of this is that at least RIM has started the year on the right path. Even if this doesn’t sky rocket the company back to success, it is taking the proper direction to recovery from 2011. As for apps, App World doesn’t have to have the most apps, just a sufficient amount. Good luck RIM, I honestly believe that if they play their cards well this year they can get back in the game.

  • max

    well i think rim is in a transition period between bb os7 and bb 10 .the product that make this transition is the playbook . they are improving i see the os very well. they are learning from the pb to build a good bb 10 phones after all they sell more phones than pb. i can give an exemple microsoft they created windows vista as a transition between xp and w7. i am very impressed with os2 and waiting for it .

  • Cam

    What a piece of crap it was and now…still a piece of crap. Only the desperate would celebrate the inclusion of email and calendar functionality, not to mention horrible android app support.

  • Betty Koyle

    Isn’t it funny that lululemon athletica is worth more then rim now?

    • G-man

      Betty, Betty, Betty,
      Isn’t it funny that in 2002 Apple was worth $16 a share?

  • Pahech

    This is a steal for people that got the Playbook for $199 with these new updates.

    Regaining confidence of the consumers in addition to increasing marketshares through this update and discount sale may go a long way in promoting the Playbook 2, if they ever gonna make it.

  • KNP

    I bought a PlayBook 32Gb for my wife as a Christmas gift and she is very happy with it. She doesn’t need to use home computer at all now. On the PlayBook she’s got everything she needs: high quality screen, web browser with flash, Hotmail client, camera, pictures, music and pretty good stereo speakers, HDMI output. She says that it’s very easy to use and synchronize pictures and music – just copy and paste. Plus, it is small, light and portable to carry around with her. Also, it seems like 7 inch screen size is optimal – easy and comfortable to type on the keyboard. It does not have too many applications but it has everything you need.
    I am also thinking about buying a PlayBook 64Gb and switching from android to Bold 9900. I like the idea to integrate your phone with tablet, so you can have all your e-mails, messages, contacts in one, secure place (blackberry phone ) and use a bigger screen (playbook) to read and work with them. I also will be able to use blackberry phone in my BMW (BMW Apps) and see all messages and appointments in my car.

  • Nack

    This makes me consider buying a blackberry phone. I like how you can just be in your bed while browsing on my 50″ TV using a smartphone with a qwerty keyboard.

  • Nick

    Starting to wish I picked up a 32 or 64 GB version. The only problem with os 2 I see is that my wife will want an upgrade to her Curve. lol

  • simonsays

    The tablet market is still growing with lots of potential for those that can make a great product, offer stable and reliable apps while giving the customer a great experience. This upgrade may be what the product needs for the consumer to start talking it up.

    I purchased 2 on sale and I have to say it is a quality product. Do I care that it didn’t come with a native email client and contacts? NO! I use Gmail and I like that my email and contacts can be accessed through the browser. I do understand why people might be upset but come next month that is issue is resolved.

    What I do like about the new OS is having the option to use my BB as the keyboard, great idea. What I don’t like, my wife is now asking to replace her Samsung Galaxy with a BB9900 :(

  • abc123

    in the next release, if the expanded the bridge function to iOS and Android, and have remote control capabilities that would be killer.

  • Josh

    is it worth getting playbook if u dont got a blackberry phone

    • Jake

      YES!
      Having the BB phone just adds to the experience.

  • mike

    well i love my bb9800 and my playbook!! but i also got the wife and my son pb’s for xmas and they love them and they are both android users for there cell phones.

  • jack

    Playbook iS awesome, i could play any flash games online and can stream movies and watch on my 52″Sony lcd. WIth Android apps coming this is a must buy!!!

  • John

    The playbook is the best tablet on the market. Glad i haven’t been ibrainwashed

  • Mike Reilly

    RIM shipped us a free Playbook which I opened up today. It seemed promising at first then quickly descended to the same old, same old from Blackberry (eerily reminiscent of the Storm, which is a godawful excuse for a smartphone). Unresponsive touch screen. Huge update to install right out of the box. Had to manually pair with my Bold since the automatic pairing failed. Worst of all, no apparent back button or way to exit apps like when viewing Messages. I found myself totally stuck with no apparent way to go back to the main menu. Didn’t bother with the browser since I assumed like on the Bold it’s just a complete fail. I spent about 10-15 minutes on this piece of junk then I literally tossed it into the trash. I can see why they are shipping this crap out to people for free. I wouldn’t even consider paying for it.

    • Dimitri k.

      You are a i***t. Are you not able to read a manual? Are you retarded? like give me a break. There is a manual in every box you got so you can learn to use a tablet or a phone or w.e it is. Funny you say you threw it out in the trash seeing as i do not believe that at all. Most people making idiotic comments like your are most likely using it anyways. its a shame having people like you comment. The playbook is fine & it works great. Next time learn to read a manual.

  • Marques

    If i bought a 64gb Blackberry Playbook right now at 299.99 will i be able to get these features ? the only thing im worried about is that it will have a better hardware then the first playbook; but then again it says “If Playbook launched in February 2012 with the same hardware and upcoming software”. If anybody has the answer to my question, post a comment and i will check every once in awhile.

  • Brayhan

    Here’s hoping RIM comes back strong this year so I can dump the iPhone and get a BB with a PB. If not I always got the Galaxy line… I love 2012 already.

Trending News

Other Articles