It has been less than a couple of hours since RIM released OS 2.0 for the BlackBerry PlayBook. I have been going through everything that’s new in the update for over an hour now. These are my first impressions and I will keep updating this post as and when I find something interesting to share. Check out our screenshot gallery below (we will add new screenshots so keep checking back) and hit the break for my first impressions. Also Read - Bitcoin price jumps after Elon Musk tweets Tesla will accept crypto in future
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Since I’m not a BlackBerry smartphone user, the biggest deal for me with PlayBook OS 2.0 is having a native email client that does not require to be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone to work. Thankfully, PlayBook OS 2.0 brings that and does a pretty decent job at it. Setting up email accounts was a breeze and I can vouch it was the simplest from all other operating systems.
While iOS and Android sync contacts with an Exchange Server account in groups of 50 (I use Gmail to sync contacts), the PlayBook did the same task in no time. Ditto for calendar. Everything was set up in minutes. There is also an option to set up Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn in the mail account. However, it only shows Direct Messages from Twitter, and messages from LinkedIn and Facebook. I assumed it will also show latest updates from my contacts. That bit is done in the dedicated contacts app.
I like the neat, clutter-free interface for the calendar app. The size of the date keeps increasing as more meetings are added to a day, so you know how busy your day is at a glance. It also shows people you are meeting and on tapping them takes you to their contacts page along with their recent updates on social networks.
The browser, which I believe is among the best across tablets, has also been updated. Now there is a Reader plugin that reformats the page into a more readable format, much like how iOS does.
PlayBook OS 2.0 also adds Android app support. I have just downloaded Dolphin Browser HD and it works perfectly on the PlayBook. Though it feels odd to see Android-styled layout when it comes to pop-up messages. All Android apps run in a single window (as shown in the screenshot above) and the last open app is displayed. There is a toggle bar at the bottom that shows all Android apps that are open and users can switch between them. This is a major UI inconsistency but then that’s the pay off users will have to do to get more apps. Talking about the number of apps, most of the popular Android apps are currently missing from the list. Also, apps and games that have a paid-for version in App World but are free on Android Market are unlikely to hit the PlayBook.
Eventually, PlayBook OS 2.0 brings some of the much-needed features that have been missing since it was launched. Existing users and those who bought it during the recent price cut would love it. But I cannot find a simple reason why someone should still buy a PlayBook over an Android tablet (the iPad is my first choice). Unless you can still find a PlayBook at those throw-away prices (you won’t get a half-decent Android tab at that price), buying a PlayBook would always mean compromising on the apps front. Yes, it now has an email client (a pretty slick one at that), has a terrific browser that takes everything you throw at it but the apps still don’t cut it. Having Android apps is one thing, but it means very little with the best apps missing.