By now you have probably heard about RIM's release
of the highly anticipated BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. For months now, all anyone in the BlackBerry community could do was talk about PlayBook OS 2.0. Rumors and guesses of when it would be released had everyone on their toes, and had others running out of patience. They say good things come to those who wait. Was this the case with PlayBook OS 2.0? Did RIM deliver on what so many have been waiting for? After spending some time with the PlayBook OS 2.0 this is my review.
A Seamless Update
Anytime a major update like this comes along a bit of update anxiety also comes with it. Questions like will my data still be there after I upgrade? Will I brick my device by doing this? However this, process was clean and simple. I was greeted by a simple notification that informed me that OS 184.108.40.20671 was now available for download. After clicking on "Download Now" the upgrade process was quick and painless. Although the upgrade process was among the best I have ever experienced, one should not disregard a proper backup before upgrading. A quick back up can save you from wasting a lot of time and effort.
A Refreshing New UI
The two most noticeable things you will notice right away are how you interact with the Playbook and the way it looks. Although, most of the gestures are the same, there are somethings that are completely revamped.
The categories, All, Favorites, Media, and Games, have been replaced with an interactive dock. The dock can be used much like the "Favorites" section was used on OS 1.0. Icons and folders can be placed on the dock by simply dragging the pulsing icon to the desired location on the dock. This is very convenient for those quick launch applications that you frequently use. In addition, icons a can be moved to an existing or new panel by simply moving it to the far right of the screen. When you move it a new panel is automatically created, and the OS is smart enough to remove the panels that have nothing on them.
Folder creation is another big change with this release, now I can easily organize my applications into folder groups. If you have a lot of apps you will really like this feature. So say good bye to that cluttered home screen. Folder creation couldn't be any easier; in fact it may be a little too easy as I found myself unintentionally creating them at times. To create a new folder simply drag a pulsing icon on top of another icon. You will then be prompted to name your new folder. After that tap create and you are done.
The BlackBerry Bridge experience was a little tricky at first, because I was not used to having native email and calendar built in. However it did not take long for me to feel right at home while using BlackBerry Bridge. The bridge icon is actually a folder that houses all of the Bridge applications. I like this for organisational purposes and to keep me from being confused between my bridged calendar application and the native calendar.
One of the nice things that RIM did within the Bridge Application was to make your BlackBerry device much more interactive with the PlayBook. You can now control your PlayBook from your BlackBerry device. To do this all you have to is enable the option to "Use Remote Control" from within the BlackBerry Bridge App on your BlackBerry device. Clicking on remote control will bring you to a mini-like PlayBook screen where you can control your PlayBook. Clicking on the menu screen will give you additional options to control the PlayBook. This proves to be an invaluable tool for presentations, and picture viewing on large TV's or projection screens.
Native Email Contacts and Calendar
This was a feature that everyone was waiting for, including myself. Now with ease, email accounts and social sites can be easily setup and integrated within the native messaging application. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, all can be setup and delivered right to my messaging inbox. In addition, you can reply to those messages directly from the inbox.
It has been a long time coming, but spell checker is finally here for writing those lengthy emails. The calendar may be the most revamped native application that the PlayBook has to offer. It's actually a smart calendar in that it tells you when you are busy. You will notice that some of your calendar day numbers are larger than other. The larger the number the more packed your schedule is that day. Facebook, Twitter and Linked in are all integrated into the calendar as well so all of those important dates within those sites can seamlessly integrate to your calendar on the PlayBook.
The Bonus Features
One of the nice things that RIM has done with this release besides providing the functionality that end users wanted; was to add additional features that would make the PlayBook even better than before. Features like
Open on PlayBook give you the ability to invoke a Bridge Application from your BlackBerry device. This allows you to open up something like a Word or PDF document on your PlayBook instead of your BlackBerry; taking advantage of the PlayBook's larger screen. Keyboard, and Video Chat enhancements as well as support for Android applications and the addition of Print to Go all make for some nice icing on this cake.
The question now isn't whether or not RIM delivered, but rather how long can they keep up creating superior quality devices with superior OSes? The fact that OS 2.0 more than delivered is proof that RIM is making strides in the right direction to connect with consumers and deliver high quality products. The end results in this review was a fresh new OS that had me feeling like I had just purchased a new tablet. There is a new vibe around the BlackBerry community and im liking it.