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Blackberry Handhelds Operating Systems

Playbook OS 2.0 Released 90

Alt-kun writes "On February 21st, The Blackberry Playbook finally received its long-promised overhaul. Called Playbook OS 2.0, this major upgrade provides native email and calendaring apps, limited support for Android applications (the developer has to repackage the app for the Playbook), and a bunch of other features. There are some fairly positive initial reviews, although one can no doubt expect a lot of too-little-too-late naysaying from various quarters as well. The Globe and Mail article also contains this somewhat interesting note: '...until RIM began deep discounting ... the device languished way behind rivals such as the iPad in terms of market share. One recent report by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, however, pegs RIM's share of the tablet market at around 15 per cent, a big jump after discounting over the holiday buying season.'" ZDNet has some screenshots of the new features, and El Reg has a piece on an interesting bit of the new software.
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Playbook OS 2.0 Released

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  • Take note (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @11:59AM (#39125433)
    10 and a half months after release, the Blackberry Playbook finally doesn't suck.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      10 and a half months after release, the Blackberry Playbook finally doesn't suck. Much.

      Yeah - the option of using a BlackBerry phone's keyboard as an external keyboard for a tablet ... um, never mind. What were they thinking? How did a company that was leading this industry make so many bad decisions, even after others clearly exposed what a majority of the market wants?

      • Re:Take note (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Tarlus ( 1000874 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:40PM (#39126137)

        I think they were only leading the industry because their conventional, usable competitors hadn't yet been invented.

      • Works perfectly. Tablet connected to projector or large display via HDMI, drive display through phone at other side of the room. Screen works as a mouse pad, centre button works like nipple on a Thinkpad, keyboard works like a keyboard. Tested last night at home and in the office this morning. What's more, a document on the phone can be opened on the tablet.

        This is a corporate or academic feature, but some of us work, you know, for companies or academia.

  • Thats it! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:03PM (#39125499)
    I must alert all playbook owners......owner.....I wonder if Jim even still has it.....
  • I hate subjects (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:03PM (#39125503)

    The fact that the Playbook didn't have native email (without tethering to a Blackberry phone) from the start speaks enormously about what's wrong with RIM (or RIM's management, to be precise). The guys in charge thought "this will increase phone sales since people will want email." Not only is that idiotic reasoning considering all the tablet competition, it's a shitty attitude to have towards your customers.

    Make people WANT to buy RIM phones, not have to.

    • Re:I hate subjects (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:07PM (#39125565) Homepage

      Yup... "native email" as an important update feature is BAD NEWS - because it should have been one of the FIRST features in the initial OS release!

      For critical basic features like this to be missing from the initial release, and to take this long (basically, when the hardware is becoming obsolete), is completely inexcusable.

      • I did some quick searching and couldn't find it, but I thought Blackberry claimed the playbook did not have an email client due to security risks?
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Russ1642 ( 1087959 )
          No, that was the power button. They wanted to remove it because turning the device might expose users to a security risk.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            No, that was the power button. They wanted to remove it because turning the device might expose users to a security risk.

            Turning it on would also expose RIM to ridicule.

        • Yes this was the reason given as I think they could not secure email on the new Qnx OS as well as they could on the older Blackberry OS in time for release. However, the point was that maybe they should have waited until the product was ready. Many initial reviews have suggested that the product was rushed out to market which was only confirmed by the lack of feautures users thought were critical.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by spacepimp ( 664856 )

            From what I've read, the use of QNX necessitates an entirely new version (ground up rewrite) of BES server software to be written. So an enterprise will need one BES server for QNX devices and a legacy server for the legacy models. They haven't released a new version of BES yet, so they relented and used active sync on the device. They made a choice not to release the PB with email so they could build a new BES Server. Now the people who bought one could easily have had one with active sync, a year ago but

        • Re:I hate subjects (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Pope ( 17780 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:23PM (#39127643)

          My understanding is that BES is locked down to one user = one device, so if you already had a BB phone accessing your email with BES, you couldn't "share" that account with another device.

          Made total sense for all the years they've been around, until they decided to create the Playbook.

      • It was designed as a an accessory to a BlackBerry that could share the same data plan. It was designed that way to please their bigger business customers, and stabilize sales to them. That worked actually. The big problem was that their marketing department sold it as something it wasn't until today: a stand-alone tablet.
        • Re:I hate subjects (Score:4, Insightful)

          by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:45PM (#39126221)
          No this was their fallback position when the reviews started coming in critical of the lack of email functionality. The fact of the matter was that adapting Qnx to be their OS would take years to do and Apple and Android already had sizable leads. RIM needed to release a product to compete; releasing it incomplete was the option they chose rather than releasing it later but complete (but still behind).
          • Re:I hate subjects (Score:4, Informative)

            by accessbob ( 962147 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:06PM (#39126539)

            Well, I remember actually going to the developer days before the Playbook was launched, and applying for my free Playbook, and the whole tech presentation was about how it worked as an extension to your phone and why that was good for business.

            The engineers seemed to know what they were making, and what their priorities were. The CEOs and their marketing department on the other hand were living in some strange parallel universe... I note that the CEOs have gone, and they are shopping around for a new Marketing director. I'm not surprised.

            • In a perfect world they would have had years to adequately prepare the PlayBook. The engineers only had a year to get it ready for release so corners were cut to get it ready. Somewhere someone made the decision that releasing without native email to make an arbitrary deadline was better than delaying and releasing it complete. Someone else decided the best way to sell this was to say it was an "accessory." The fact of the matter was it was always designed to be standalone; there wasn't enough time so it
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        "Native email" means BlackBerry Messenger...

        You could *always*run, gmail, yahoo mail, or any of the web mail clients on day one. The browser is/was powerful enough and flash compliant enough to "just work". No need for some stooge to write a custom app just to access your standard websites (and charge you $0.99 or more)... unlike another fruity vendor. In fact, several websites need to remove the PlayBook browser from their "mobile device" list and allow it to access the standard desktop-targetted site. Thi

        • Re:I hate subjects (Score:4, Insightful)

          by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:36PM (#39126943) Homepage
          No, "native email" means IMAP and POP3 to the vast majority of people. The general public buying a tablet expect to be able to use a desktop-like email client on their tablet.
          • by Anonymous Coward
            You've gotta be kidding. The 'general public' has no idea at all what IMAP or POP3 are. They get their email from a website. I used to use Thunderbird with gmail but I haven't bothered in years. There just no need for it.
            • _NATIVE_ email. Goodness, people that get their email from websites won't care about native email support on the Playbook. People that do, expect IMAP and/or POP3. And probably Exchange too.
        • The various iPad app devs don't want you to know that.

          I'm an iOS app developer. I don't care, at all, about what anyone does or does not know about the Playbook.

          I mean, you'd have to be an idiot not to know that any device with a browser can reach a web interface for mail - just as you'd have to be an idiot to think that's at all an acceptable solution for daily email use.

          In the end, here's what you utterly fail to understand - I am not just an iOS developer, I am a MOBILE developer. Any mobile developer

        • In fact, several websites need to remove the PlayBook browser from their "mobile device" list and allow it to access the standard desktop-targetted site.

          I have a hard time believing there were more than a couple of websites that took the Playbook browser into consideration at all.

    • Re:I hate subjects (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nimloth ( 704789 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:20PM (#39125775)
      You're looking at it wrong. They didn't cripple it to sell more phones, they developped the product when they still had good market share in the mobile world and wanted to sell PlayBooks into existing BlackBerry accounts. It was a way to bypass IT having to manage another device and piggyback on the already-approved BlackBerries in enterprise (think FIPS approval, etc). They did not expect then that nobody would want BlackBerry devices anymore, and that it would be a major handicap to the PlayBook to not be able to function as a standalone device.
      Short-sighted yes, malicious tactic I think not.
      • Re:I hate subjects (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:17PM (#39126669)
        As someone who has a BlackBerry Torch and a PlayBook I can attest to how well the two are integrated. Once I had Bridge installed on my Torch and paired with the PlayBook you would swear there was a native email/calender/contacts list on the device (as long as the phone was close by). I really don't understand the hate on the device. It is an impeccable mobile device with arguably the best browser of any mobile OS. I haven't needed an app that wasn't available. I have several Android applications installed and they work flawlessly. I guess people need to feel good about their purchase so their put down the device they didn't get.
      • I think it was a purely a decision about getting the product to market ASAP. If it's taken RIM this long to get a native calendar and mail App out (and certainly under huge pressure and timelines internally, no less), then we might not have otherwise seen the playbook released until just now. Problem is, as anyone who's worked on the Duke Nukem forever product can surely tell you, you eventually have to release the product, because if you wait too long to truly 'finish' it, it's already 1-2 generations old
    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I suspect it went down like this. The tablet release date was set in stone and the email software turned out to be far harder to port than originally imagined. So RIM's plan B was to offer some functionality via tethering with a lame excuse thrown in that it was done for security.

      The problem for RIM is they are pretty much known for one thing - email, and when their tablet implements some half assed kludge people will take notice. If they've fixed it in 2.0 then perhaps it's not too late to rebuild some b

    • Actually RIM's problem is that they have integrated the security into their devices so well people think it's easy and it's not. With the PlayBook RIM is using a completely new OS (to them...) that wasn't designed from the ground up with encryption/security baked in. QNX is a rock solid base to build on but adding the security piece without breaking other things isn't easy. The BB Bridge was a way to extend the phones features to the tablet with the security intact while RIM's programmers worked on the hard
    • I eval'ed it for our company a month after release. It could play Flash content (which our legacy stuff still uses), but that was about the only real selling point for it. My 2-year old iPhone 3GS handled truly basic and small PDFs 10 times better than the Playbook did (the PB actually *froze* for seconds at a time when trying to scroll these PDFs). But the boss declared the lack of native email/contact/calendar apps to be a deal-breaker.

      We are a small company and only one of us has a Blackberry, the rest w

  • Playboy (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I would like to point out that I only stopped to read this cuz I've misread "Playboy OS 2.0"

  • by silverpig ( 814884 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:10PM (#39125619)
    I got the Playbook yesterday and love it already. Bridge works great and the UI is very well thought out. There are some features that even to the iPad. When you type in a password field, the keyboard adds a number row to the top for example. That being said what are some good apps? I am using Lemma for my twitter client. Any other little gems?
    • Got one for my wife for Christmas for an incredible price. So far, we've been underwhelmed with the app choices ... there weren't very many.

      Once we updated to 2.0 yesterday, there were a lot more apps, and several of them were clearly from the Android marketplace.

      So, hopefully this will be the beginning of having more on it. I don't think she cares if she can fetch her email natively (since she uses gmail), but the lack of apps available for it were making it not much more than a web browser and something

    • by rockypg ( 787998 )
      The whole problem is that there *are* no apps. The ability to run android apps was the mitigation strategy, but isn't going too well as noted in TFAs. You're best bet is to sideload android apps. Try [] for a whole bunch of unofficially packaged android apps.
      • There are a few good ones, and apparently 6600 android devs just signed up to develop for the playbook. it'll improve.
    • by Nimloth ( 704789 )
      Sadly no. I use Citrix Receiver but that requires the Citrix architecture in the background. Other than that no gems yet I'm afraid. The platform and hardware are nice, just waiting on the apps...
    • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:02PM (#39126467)
      First off, try Evernote (cloud note service) and Poynt (location based search). Taptu is probably the best blog/news aggregator for PlayBook. It's actually an Android app that runs within the new Android Player. Magellan Compass is a nice GPS navigation tool that uses Google Maps and integrates Yelp and Flickr. Box is a nice cloud storage solution for sharing files between the PB and other devices and your desktop. I think they offer something like 15GB free storage. GeeReader bring Google Reader to the platform. The free version has a banner ad on the bottom of the reading pane, but it's easy enough to ignore.

      As far as free games go, PewPew is a quite attractive vector graphic shoot-em-up that's a great stress relief at the end of the day. Celestial Slingshot is another free game that's quite addictive if you don't mind accidentally launching dozens of ships into the sun.

      Release of the Zinio reader is imminient, and I'm sure we'll see a flock of Android apps in the AppWorld in coming months. Ignore the wisecracks from the iPadistas - the Playbook is good value for $200.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:10PM (#39126579)

      Spent mod points so have to post as AC, check out "GeeReader" if you use Google Reader for RSS, "Remote Desktop" if you want to RDP to your desktop using native MSTSC TCP 3389 with no additional software clients, there is "Telnet/SSH" which is basically PutTY compiled for Playbook OS, "ProInsights" is a very nice eye candy for your LinkedIn account (not very functional, but very cool to show off), "Book Reader" lets you open any ebook, including Kindle... for games - just look at the top rated tab in the new App World. Ok, I think that's it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:26PM (#39125875)

    BOOM! Native Email Application! YOUR MOVE APPLE!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:34PM (#39126017)

    One recent report by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, however, pegs RIM's share of the tablet market at around 15 per cent

    No bloody way. I'd love to see some actual data on this.

    • by haus ( 129916 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:06PM (#39126531) Homepage Journal

      That would be 15% of the tablets owned by members of RIM's executive team.

    • They based this on a marketing survey conducted in the parking lot of RIM headquarters. Still only 15% :-(
    • by na1led ( 1030470 )
      It's Bogus, has to be. Last year, HP sold over a million Touch Pads and they still didn't reach 15% market share on tablets. Someone is fudging numbers.
    • by Nimloth ( 704789 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @02:58PM (#39128149)
      This came out last week. It is based on a survey of 1000 tablet owners in Canada only. I'd say within 2-3% margin of error it sounds about right. I'm in Canada and we have sold a lot of PlayBooks, mostly to people who would have liked an iPad but couldn't justify the 400$ more it cost.
      • I don't know much about the market in Canada, I know that often it's much like the U.S., sometimes more limited since many foreign vendors are just thinking about coming to the U.S. and haven't even considered Canada yet. This creates obvious lack of choice issues. But based on the pathetic sales of the Playbook and the enormous sales of other devices, it still seems strange. I would say that they had to limit their demographic further somehow. Like sticking strictly to people who actually consider a tie ap
  • market share (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @12:35PM (#39126057)

    One recent report by Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, however, pegs RIM's share of the tablet market at around 15 per cent, a big jump after discounting over the holiday buying season.

    That's 15 per cent of the Canadian tablet market. One would figure they're doing much worse outside Canada.

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      it's pretty much non-existant outside of NA(but so were their phones apart from middle-east too..).

      • by iserlohn ( 49556 )

        Blackberrys are actually quite big in the UK. The playbook has been doing well after cutting the price of the base 16GB version to 169 GBP.

  • Haven't all other BlackBerry devices for the last nine years had native email? Kind of a glaring omission in version 1.0 of the PlayBook.

    But oh well, I'm sure the few Canadians who got a good deal on them will be happy.

  • Happy - the playbook now recognizes MKV movie files Con - The have very few codecs for it so most of my stuff doesn't play correctly! And I REALLY want my subtitles (I'm an anime geek, so sue me!)
    • If you were a true anime geek you would learn Japanese. Please turn in your Anime Geek Member Card.
    • by Pope ( 17780 )

      Convert to proper MP4 container with AAC audio and plain text track subtitles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @01:35PM (#39126929)

    I picked up a playbook earlier this month, and am loving it [*ducks*].
    But seriously, I had planned on getting a kindle fire for a cheap and light web-browsing, pass-the-time gaming, and music and movies for the kids. Then the playbooks went on sale and for the same price I got twice the memory (1GB RAM vs 512MB and 16GB SSD vs 8GB) plus font and back cameras.

    Admittedly the apps aren't there for many people, but there are enough for me. Also, the browser is as good or better than many android tablets I've tried (with exception of Hulu which I can't get to work). I figure the number of apps will grow, but I'm stuck with the hardware (I use stuff until it's beyond repair, so I plan on 5yrs or so) for me it's a better investment.

    • The PlayBook and Kindle Fire are basically cousins anyway. Quanta [] makes both of them.

      As far as HULU it is HULU to blame as they have blocked the PlayBook from working on their site. You can try installing SimpleBrowser from App World. It lets you specify a user agent string HULU doesn't block. I simply use PlayOn [] to stream HULU from my PC.
  • Copernicus heliocentric theory upsets the vatican RIM finds email at center of its world!

  • by line-bundle ( 235965 ) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @05:11PM (#39129839) Homepage Journal

    I have the 64Gig playbook and I've been playing with the new OS. Here is my opinion.

    RIM still has a lot of work to do. Their device still needs a lot of polish to just be on par with the iPad. Then they need to provide some earth-shattering software to make it worth buying.

    One critical failure they have is that they do not have software "showing off" their hardware. Rumors have it that the Playbook has a GPS, compass etc. I have no way of knowing that. They have an impressive spreadsheet and word-processor. It doesn't matter because most tablets are consumption devices. They need to have a very good pdf reader. What they included is barely passable.

    They need to improve their music player. I could rant all day about this but here are a few points. You can't upload by album. You can't list by album. You can play music on external bluetooth speakers.

    I'm seething now. Let me stop

  • I was all for Canada in the beginning, but in OS1.0 I understood the security stuff meant no single app, nor of course any user, could tweak with the information flux 'system wide' to stripe ads for instance -- this would have to be integrated straight into a browser.
    Anyone around having checked that in the v2.0 browser?

Information is the inverse of entropy.