Print 30 comment(s) - last by retrospooty.. on Feb 23 at 10:37 AM

New OS packs numerous improvements

What has Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (TSE:RIM) been cooking up these past few months?  Well, amid a leadership shakeup and a string of troubles that stewed much pessimism, RIM has managed to bake a major operating system update for its PlayBook tablet, which patches up many of the device's weaknesses.

A definite positive sign is that RIM appears to have been listening to the criticism, as its improvements largely line up with things that early reviews panned.  New features include:
  • A new unified email client, which compiles your messages from Facebook, Twitter, and your various email accounts
  • A new Calendar app with social network access
  • A new Contacts app that syncs its information with Facebook
  • BlackBerry Bridge, an app that turns your BlackBerry into a wireless keyboard for the PlayBook -- or which leverages the PlayBook to offer big screen reading for emails and content
  • An enhanced web browser
  • The first PlayBook-compatible Android app ports, via new additions to BlackBerry App World
  • Improved virtual keyboard
  • BlackBerry Balance to check data usage
  • Improved document editing
  • Print to Go app

RIM PlayBook OS 2.0
[Image Source: Engadget]

The build of the release is, and it weighs in at 505 MB.

Early reviews of the PlayBook offered general praise for its form factor and hardware.  But they called the operating system unpolished.  With the new update perhaps the PlayBook can finally be considered a tablet to be contended with.

It's a bit late for RIM when it comes to both tablet and smartphone market share, but the fact that the company is responding to criticism proactively with improvements is a very good sign.  The company is still very profitable -- so like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) it has a fair amount of money to throw at reinvigorating its smartphone efforts.

In related news, RIM has also aired a new enterprise-aimed management tool called BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.  In a bit of a concession, the IT software not only supports BlackBerries, but also Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iPhone and various Android smartphones.  Support for Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 was not mentioned.

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RE: rim
By ICBM on 2/21/2012 1:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
I like the QNX OS on the Playbook, and I am glad to see a much needed update to it. Its functional, and it serves it purpose.

I agree though, RIM has played its hand. This won't help sales. A new tablet based on the new OS might be neat, but it won't sell either, unless it is like $100. But why bring a new tablet to market? What will it do that previous tablets can't? This question should be asked of all manufacturers.

We say obsolete, but does that really count in this segment. What can an iPhone 4 do that the first generation can't? Sure we get processor upgrades, 2g to 3g to LTE, better screens, etc., but what can the new phones do that our old phones can't? You guys are trashing Blackberry, but what is so obsolete about them? What can your phone do that a Torch from a year ago can't? Other than not working with regular push email, Blackberry can do 99-100% of everything I need. Phone, calender, mail, camera, web browser, calculator.

New phones and tablets are as much a status symbol now as they are a tool. Does the Playbook do what its owners want it to do? Yes. Do they look cool when they are using it? 16 year olds will say no. What really matters is that the tablets and phones are serving their purposes efficiently, and I think all the phones and tablets in the last few years have done that for the most part, and are continuing to do that.

So obsolete, I would say no.

RE: rim
By Pirks on 2/21/2012 4:03:32 PM , Rating: 2
You guys are trashing Blackberry, but what is so obsolete about them?
Not so many fart apps (C) retrospooty

RE: rim
By retrospooty on 2/21/2012 4:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
Nice of you to think of me and fart apps in the same sentence. ;)

Yes, I am sure you are right. RIM has gone from over 50% to a couple percent marketshare and stock dropped to 1/10th its previous value because of it's lack of fart apps. I am sure it has nothing to do with the outdated OS and god-aweful UI. Its all about the fart noise. =)

RE: rim
By Pirks on 2/21/2012 5:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
Don't project your problems with old UI from BB5 and BB6 era onto modern BB7 phones. Or BB7 users will laugh at you.

And OS in iPad is more outdated and ugly looking than Playbook OS, so what? Does it makes Playbook the leader in sales?

You preach about "outdated OS" but when faced with facts you'll rotate 180 degrees and start your usual dance.

RE: rim
By retrospooty on 2/21/2012 5:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
Still quite the putz I see. Have fun with that. See you at the RIM fire sale later this year.

RE: rim
By ICBM on 2/22/2012 12:37:58 PM , Rating: 2
Have you tried the QNX UI? It is really pretty slick.

RE: rim
By retrospooty on 2/21/2012 4:39:17 PM , Rating: 2
" What can an iPhone 4 do that the first generation can't? Sure we get processor upgrades, 2g to 3g to LTE, better screens, etc., but what can the new phones do that our old phones can't? You guys are trashing Blackberry, but what is so obsolete about them? "

They "do" most of the same things, but its not really about what they do, its how they do it. When the iPhone came out, it actually had less features than competing Palm Treo's Winmobile and BB's.

At the time, Palm Treo's Winmobile and BB's were incredibly useful mobile tools with a ton of features that were invaluable for pro's on the go... And they were irritating as hell to use. Clumsy UI with no ergonomic thought whatsoever. Apple came along and changed that. They had a UI that was intuitive, and even fun to use. The rest upped their games, Win7, Palm WebOS, Android came out and Blackberry stagnated. QNX looks good, but its still not out on phones and when it finally comes, it may be too late. RIM will likely have been sold off by then. RIM is simply too big to become a medium sized phone maker. Too much money to be lost. They will have to sell to get the shareholders some amount of $$$ back.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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